IT would appear that the two-year DUP boycott of Stormont is nearing its end and that the Northern Ireland Assembly will meet again, with the return of its devolved government welcomed by the majority of political groups in the North.

Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP leader, should be applauded for grasping the thistle amidst inter-party and inter-Unionist disagreements that persist regarding the detritus of a Brexit that the people of Northern Ireland firmly rejected. Like David Trimble, the UUP leader during the Belfast Agreements of 1998, Donaldson has chosen Realpolitik rather than the traditional Unionist stance of intransigent denial in the face of social and political changes to demographics and modernising attitudinal changes amongst the young who have grown up in a relatively stable country.

READ MORE: Scotland not consulted on GB-NI trade routine checks removal

Michelle O’Neil will become the First Minister of Northern Ireland, a fact that has doubtless delayed the restoration of the devolved assembly but now not only looks to be historic, as she is the deputy leader of Sinn Fein, but also raises the possibility of Sinn Fein leading both the Dail in Dublin and the Assembly in Belfast in the very near future. This does not necessarily make a United Ireland more credible or feasible in the immediate future, but it does expedite general discussions and debate on what the future holds by the middle of this century on the island of Ireland.

Northern Ireland as an entity is a result of the British imperialist greed that has riddled so much of the globe like a political, economic and cultural tumour. The “province” has experienced its own form of apartheid, the devastating Troubles and years of disaffected abandonment by successive UK Governments, but must now hope for new beginnings and better days ahead. It is a lesson for all those who believe in Scottish independence of hope over fear and that we can never lose sight of our ultimate objective for the sake of our children and our grandchildren.

Owen Kelly

OUR MSPs are being called to commit to the EU (Robertson to call on MSPs to agree that Scotland’s future is best served by being in the EU, Jan 30), and it may be that Scotland’s future is best served in the EU (although I am still to be persuaded), but the DUP in Northern Ireland have demonstrated that there are sometimes political benefits in being “hard to get”.

R Millar

AMONG a myriad of contentious assertions by Nick Cole in his long letter (Jan 31), one particularly egregious one stood out: “It should be noted that while democracies are likely to embark on police actions, they rarely ever invoke invasions”. By this definition the invasion of Gaza and the consequent genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by Israel is a “police action”.

His definition might surprise the Egyptians – that country was invaded in 1956 (the Suez Crisis) by the UK, France and Israel (them again). It would certainly surprise the Vietnamese, who endured a 20-years-plus US invasion which killed and maimed millions and left many survivors traumatised due to the barbaric use of Agent Orange and napalm.

READ MORE: In Common: I don't care if I'm an ungrateful brat over UK conscription

Do I even have to mention the illegal invasion of Iraq led by the US and the UK? But these are just the major ones that are well known in the West, if not in Meigle. There is also a long and undistinguished list of US invasions that are seemingly unknown to many. Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Panama, Laos, Grenada – the list goes on. Added to this is the even longer list of CIA-inspired coups to topple governments that were inimical to US interests – Iran, Nicaragua, Chile, El Salvador being just a few examples.

Tom McFadyen

LIKE Alasdair Forbes (Letters, Jan 27) I also believe that Scotland should have its own awards system, completely separate from the basically corrupt one Downing Street compiles.

The system I propose would be a civic one run by ordinary citizens with no government involvement, except perhaps in setting up the original selection committee, whose members would again be ordinary citizens without connections to any formal bodies. Citizens would be proposed solely by their peers, with their names and qualifications passed to the selection committee.

READ MORE: John Curtice: General Election poll shows ‘close contest for supremacy'

I propose two categories. One would be for folk who have contributed their time and energy to their local or wider communities in a hands-on way – people who donate money, while welcome, would not merit an award. The second would be for people who have benefited mankind with innovative inventions, discoveries or advancements. Those who have simply excelled in their own field – be it business, sport or the arts – would not qualify.

In the spirit of Scottish egalitarianism, there would be only one level in each group, none of this CBE, OBE, MBE malarkey. Recipients would be entitled to have a prefix to their name, possibly in Gaelic and meaning respected, esteemed, or something similar.

These are only my own ideas, to which I hope other readers will contribute.

Richard Walthew