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Voices of Ulster: a Cry from the Heart   Amazon Co UK

Donald P Doumitt. Kroshka Books, Huntington, NY. 2000. $34.00 ISBN 1 56072 665 2wpe6.gif (17012 bytes)

THE AUTHOR of this book once studied at the University of Cork, where he first took an interest in Ulster's conflict. Voices of Ulster records his visits back here in 1993, the year before the PIRA and CLMC ceasefires and in 1997 during the multi-party talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement. Doumitt records his thoughts in diary form. His apprehension in returning is obvious. Are the people he met in 1979 still alive or have they fallen victim to the troubles? Some of his self-indulgent fears are quite irritating to Ulster readers who actually had to live through the last thirty years!

The interesting thing about the series of interviews with Doumitt is the number of organisations that consider independence as a fallback position or last resort. A UVF spokesman told him "We belong to a population that has been here for over 400 years. Should a worst-case scenario happen and Britain did decide to withdraw, we the UVF would go for an independent state... Under no circumstances ever will the Ulster Protestants accede or become party to an agreement for a 32 county Irish Republic. [17/5/93]. Ray Smallwoods from the Ulster Democratic Party said, "Our loyalty to Britain is not unconditional. If they leave, we will form our own independent Ulster. We will not accept a false arrangement for a united Ireland." [25/7/93]. Doumitt has his own agenda. He instinctively does not like any kind of militant Protestantism and scarcely seems even able to comprehend it. Does, for example, Ian Paisley really believe everything he says about the papacy and the Catholic Church? Of course he does! Doumitt cannot come to terms with this. As a Catholic he finds great problems with the fact that anyone could sincerely have a bad word to say about his church. He is good, though where lets the 'Ulster voices' to speak for themselves. He speaks to journalists, academics, churchmen and political and paramilitary activists from both loyalist and republican camps. If you ignore his often irritating running commentary and the even more annoying errors of fact and misspellings of place names, it does give a useful insight into what people think.

David Kerr

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