MARTIN Hannah’s profile on Ireland (The National, December 29) asks what Scotland can learn from the Irish experience in 1937 and states: “One of the biggest gains for Eire was that it could declare itself neutral in the Second World War.” I’m not sure that deciding that the fight against fascism was nothing to do with Eire could be described as a “gain”.

Despite this, thousands of Irish citizens did elect to join in the fight and joined the British Forces. When they returned, in recognition of their efforts, their government barred them from employment throughout the Irish Civil Service.

One lesson Scotland could learn is not to recognise any specific church or religion in its constitution. I suspect most of us are generally aware of the historic role of the Catholic Church in the governance of the Irish Republic. We are probably less aware of the role the Church of England plays in the Westminster Government. For example, how many people are aware that the Church of England is excluded from the same-sex marriage legislation? Other churches are given the choice as to whether or not to conduct such marriages. The Church of England is barred from doing so. Any Anglican cleric conducting such a ceremony would be guilty of a criminal offence. The Church of England wanted this.

The article was most informative, but we also need to learn from the mistakes made in Ireland.

Douglas Morton