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Civil wrongs

•Martina Devlin's grasp of recent Irish history is as shaky as her assertions that Martin McGuinness has done more to reconcile Orange and Green than almost anyone else. Take the latter point. Before the so-called 'Troubles' there wasn't one 'peace wall' across Northern Ireland separating Catholics from their Protestant neighbours; today there are more than 50. Some legacy, that. Her contention that the civil rights movement was not effective is an insult and a slander on those who did indeed bring about major changes in Northern Irish society. Ms Devlin has obviously never heard of the Sunningdale Agreement, where back in the early 1970s and without firing one bullet or exploding one bomb John Hume, Seamus Mallon and Gerry Fitt, along with their unionist counterparts, achieved the equivalent of what is operating in Stormont today.

But it was brought down, irony of ironies, by McGuinness's Provos and Paisley's bigots which led to thousands of deaths and injuries, caused, in the main by Provo car bombs, pub bombs, roadside bombs and Armalite rifles in pursuit, not of civil rights, but a United Ireland. And now Ms Devlin would have us believe that this deeply sectarian and bloodthirsty campaign was designed to force the main players to the negotiating table for something they could have had 35 years ago! What was it Lenin said about useful fools in the media?

Eddie Naughton
The Coombe, Dublin 8

Irish Independent