Sir -- It is gratifying to read an erstwhile justice minster extolling the virtues of democracy and legitimate government ('Thank the man who won our freedom', Sunday Independent, October 17).
Could Michael McDowell therefore explain to us why, following the 1800 Act of Union when Ireland enjoyed precisely the same franchise, parliamentary representation and governing procedures as Scotland, England and Wales, does he suggest that Ireland's government was not legitimate?
In the election of December 1918, when women were enfranchised for the first time, only half of the electorate reached the polling stations. Of those who did, 47 per cent voted Sinn Fein (SF). But the first past the post system gave SF 73 seats. It was a mandate for SF to send its delegation to London to resolve the details of Home Rule. It was surely not a mandate for Michael Collins to have shot and killed more than 500 constables and officers, destroy the nation's archives and go to London.