I MARRIED a young lady from County Donegal before the Good Friday Agreement came into play so have witnessed first-hand the dramatic changes that have taken place there since the time of the euphemistically labelled “Troubles”. As well as my home in Glasgow I have one in Donegal within sight of the border with County Tyrone. It’s worth remembering that although it is referred to as the Irish Border it is actually the British Border as it was created by Westminster’s Government of Ireland Act in 1920, not by the Irish.

I am obviously generalising but one of the things I have learned over the years is the similarity and the striking differences between Scots, the English and the Irish. We are neighbours, most of us speak the same language but there it ends. We have as much in common with the Irish as we have with the Dutch or the Bosnians. Our collective experiences, attitudes, hopes and aspirations are not the same. What we, and by that I mean Westminster, think the Irish want and reality are not necessarily one and the same thing.

You have been carrying news about Ireland-related sectarian marches in Glasgow ("Loyalist and Republican marches are banned over disorder fears", The Herald, September 12), but you ain’t seen nothing yet. I travel by road all too regularly between Donegal and Belfast. It’s a journey that those concerned about sectarianism need to make if they like their lampposts festooned with nationalist flags or their kerbstones painted red, white and blue as they are in Newbuildings, a suburb of Derry or Londonderry depending on how you choose to refer to it. We don’t hear much on the BBC national news about events in Ulster (even that is a misnomer as Cavan Monaghan and Donegal are part of Ulster but in the Republic): try tuning your television to BBC regional news and you will find that “the troubles” never really went away completely. As well as new incidents the ashes of the 1960s and 70s are constantly being raked over.

As regards reinstituting a formal border between Ireland and the North it would be a case of light the blue touch-paper and run away as the slurry will hit the fan. The idea that the Irish want a united Ireland now or soon is also fantasy; why would they want to inherit the sectarian problems that still exist in the North, no, far better to allow nature and changing demographics over a generation or so to take the sting out of the situation.

Meanwhile it’s absolutely pathetic that as a result of the historical struggle to end the occupation of the island of Ireland by the misleadingly-named British Empire we witness sectarian strife here on our streets in Glasgow at a time when the same Empire still in essence occupies Scotland.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.