Norn Iron

Letter by Rob Fairmichael, Belfast

ImagePleased as I was to see a quiz about Northern Ireland in the PN February edition, your sub-editing let you down on the cover by asking ‘Ireland: do you know your facts?’. Ireland includes two political jurisdictions; the Republic and Northern Ireland, and all the questions related to the North.

If you were including the whole island of Ireland then other facts worth bringing out include big cuts in services because Irish citizens and taxpayers are bailing out German and European banks (since the state took on property developers’ debts which were nothing to do with ordinary people), and the very rapid increase in the number of people here born outside Ireland, including people from Poland, the Baltic countries, and Nigeria, over the last 15-20 years — a positive fact culturally and otherwise.

The Republic, which played a useful neutral role so far as military alliances are concerned in much of the 20th century is being slowly dragged into the NATO orbit and the USA has been permitted to use Shannon airport as a staging post for troops and military supplies going to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Information about the peace movement in Ireland — North and South — can be found on the INNATE website at

Guilty as charged! Thanks for writing in, Rob. – eds