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Unionism's learned helplessness

by Frank Schnittger Fri Nov 25th, 2022 at 11:14:31 AM EST

Letter to the Editor, Irish Times Fri Nov 25 2022.

A chara, - Newton Emerson is to be congratulated on his forensic analysis of taoiseach-in-waiting Leo Varadkar's speech to the Fine Gael ardfheis ("What Varadkar didn't say about the North in his ardfheis speech was revealing", Opinion & Analysis, November 24th).


But his analysis, written from a unionist perspective, also highlights some flaws of his own.

Apparently, it is the incoming taoiseach's responsibility to fix the protocol, complete the Narrow Water bridge project, and build a motorway through Northern Ireland to service the northwest.

All of these aspirations and projects are laudable, and should indeed be completed, but nowhere in his analysis does your columnist mention any contribution unionists might make to their realisation.

It is this sense of learned helplessness which characterises much of what passes for political debate in Northern Ireland.

It is always someone else's responsibility to resolve their problems, whether that someone else be based in London, Brussels or Dublin.

Perhaps help from these quarters would be more forthcoming and effective if unionists and others in Northern Ireland were to become more proactive in resolving their own problems?

It often seems that any help given now will only be used to prolong internal conflicts and antagonisms with almost no recognition given to the bone fide efforts of others to be of assistance. - Is mise,


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