Letters: This is Sinn Fein's big chance

PUBLISHED: 21:06 24 January 2019 | UPDATED: 21:48 24 January 2019

Anti Brexit protestor Steve Bray outside the Houses of Parliament. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

Anti Brexit protestor Steve Bray outside the Houses of Parliament. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

As the vote on Theresa May's Plan A replica approaches, with the Irish backstop still the critical obstacle, many will find it inexplicable that the party propping her up, the Democratic Unionists, are virtually the sole representative voice in Westminster for Northern Ireland where 56% voted Remain in 2016.

Meanwhile the party representing the majority of Remain voters, Sinn Fein, continues to refrain from taking up its seven parliamentary seats, though to do so would dramatically alter the balance of power in the Commons and likely end the present administration and even Brexit itself.

For those Remainers in the seven Northern Ireland constituencies Sinn Fein won in 2017 and the two DUP seats, which also had a Remain majority, the absence of a voice representing their views and interests in the decisions now being taken at Westminster – decisions that are likely to impact on Northern Ireland more than any other part of these islands – is profoundly disturbing. Indeed the recent bomb incident in Derry/Londonderry underscore how fragile the peace dividend gained in 1998 still is.

While Remain voting is closely associated with the nationalist Catholic community, the association is too simplistic, particularly further down the age range.

Indeed for both nationalist and unionist Remainers alike the longing for a leader, perhaps with the parliamentary ability of the great nationalist MP, Charles Stewart Parnell, whose tactics and personality dominated Westminster in the late 19th century – and who would almost certainly seize the opportunity the current crisis presents – is growing daily.

Paul Dolan, Northwich

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