‘Love Ulster’ march

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 5 (Sep/Oct 2006), Letters, Letters, Volume 14

Sirs,

—As a unionist who has stuck with History Ireland since its inception, I, like Eamon Ross (‘Letters’, HI 14.1, Jan./Feb. 2006), have concerns about the increasingly republican tone of the magazine. So it will not be a great surprise that I find the letter by Peter Atkins (HI 14.3, May/June 2006) to be amazingly unhelpful. The rights or wrongs of the ‘Love Ulster’ march are for others to comment on, but at least History Ireland should ensure that correspondence carried is basically factual or at least reasoned. Peter Atkins’s letter fails on both counts. The ‘Love Ulster’ march was not an Orange Order parade; it was organised mainly by victims’ groups from Northern Ireland, victims of 30 years of violence, violence bred by intolerance. Secondly, just because some may consider an organisation unacceptable or bigoted does not mean that that organisation does not have the right to be seen or heard. Bigotry is defined as ‘intolerance’; therefore those who cannot tolerate the expression of views not held by themselves can be legitimately labelled as intolerant and thus bigoted. Therefore maybe Mr Atkins’s attitude could be described as intolerant. The ‘criminals on the day’ in this case, therefore, cannot be members of an organisation that wasn’t there, but surely they were those whose personal intolerance meant that they could not challenge with arguments but had to rely on what may be described as the bigots’ disease—violence.

—Yours etc.,
MARK NEALE
Portadown

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