Gerry Adams, leader of Northern Ireland’s largest nationalist party Sinn Féin, has put Irish reunification back on the agenda. In a speech at Westminster this week, Adams argued, among other things, that while Northern Irish unionists make up fewer than 2% of the British population, without “any significant say in the direction of their own affairs” they would be able, as 20% of a new Ireland, “to exercise real political power”.

Not surprisingly, the argument has failed to seduce many. Former unionist paramilitary Davy Adams has argued that Sinn Féin’s push for reunification will “keep unionism in a constant state of anxiety” i.e raise the spectre of a return to the “Troubles” that the Good Friday agreement formally put a halt to. The truth, counters Adams, in the Irish Times, is that unionists of Northern Ireland “have been abandoned by the great and the good.” Far from being sectarian, Sinn Féin “is doing (its) best to work with citizens in these (unionist) neighbourhoods.”