Sir -- I write to compliment Ruth Dudley Edwards on a most laudable article in last week's Sunday Independent, May 22, 2011.
Although at 87 years of age, and retired for many years from the ESI (Electricity Supply Industry), I well remember my occasional visits to Dublin to meet an 'opposite number' in the ESB, and, of course, he, too, would come north to visit the then Electricity Board for Northern Ireland.
Discussions centred around matters of common interest and rarely were other topics of conversation much more than platitudinous pleasantries.
However, on one visit in the Sixties, I remember my visitor saying to me, with a degree of evident satisfaction: "You know, it's great to feel a nation once again, and it was our Republic which began the break-up of the British Empire."
This was long before devolved assemblies.
I am a Scot who during the Second World War married a serving member of Queen Alexander's Imperial Military Nursing Service and who hailed from Omagh, Co Tyrone.
I could only reply, with unpredictable prescience: "One day Scotland may very well get independence and become a republic, too, but there will not be a shot fired nor a single life lost.
"Could that not have happened here?"
If only Ruth Dudley Edwards, with her enlightened views, had been writing decades ago, a great deal of misunderstanding and suffering would surely have been avoided.
Name and address with Editor