THE governor of the Maze prison in Northern Ireland, Martin Mogg, was last week pilloried for admitting he had been somewhat naive about security in the jail.

We discovered that Loyalist (I dislike that word in the context of the Northern Ireland troubles - such criminals are loyal to nothing but their own tribal interests) terrorists of the LVF were apparently sharing the same H-block as Republican INLA terrorists.

Despite the fears of prison officers that there might be trouble brewing, Mr Mogg was assured by the inmates that they were not preparing to shoot each other.

Just days later, the LVF leader Billy Wright was shot dead by INLA prisoners.

There have been calls for Mr Moggs resignation on the basis that he should not have trusted the denials of the inmates.

Poor Mr Mogg - perhaps he would be better off running a zoo? He could put a lion in the same cage as an African antelope, only after receiving assurances from the lion that it would not bite lumps out of its companion within the next few days.

Of course with the murder of Mr Wright, another round of tit-for-tat killings has begun with the result that the peace process is under increasing pressure.

Personally, I don't have much faith in the current peace process because Sinn Fein will settle for nothing less than a united Ireland ruled from Dublin and the protestant side will not under any circumstances accept a united Ireland ruled from Dublin.

The longer the peace talks go on - and after months and months they have decided nothing more important than which kind of spray polish the cleaner can use on the negotiating table - expectations of a settlement will begin to diminish.

More and more terrorist groups will return to their favourite occupation of murdering and maiming innocent people.

British Government officials are aware of this but so far lack the political and moral courage to begin the process of an imposed settlement, preferring to behave as if the two sides can come to an agreement which satisfies all taking part.

In simple terms, geographic determinism can play a part. Any neutral person looking at a map of Great Britain would clearly regard Northern and Southern Ireland as united, and separated from the rest of Britain by the surrounding sea.

No amount of bowler hats, orange sashes, drums and penny whistles can obscure this glaring characteristic of the situation.

Historically, the protestant population of Northern Ireland was imposed on the country from outside by a colonising Elizabethan administration in England. Once again a neutral would be convinced that, in the modern world, the natives should run their own country.

The North/South division in Ireland was created earlier this century by, among others, Lloyd George whose political career was ruined by the settlement.

The protestant majority in the North could be seen as artificially created by the ad hoc division of a country by a colonial power which had no moral justification for doing so.

If there was a referendum held tomorrow in the United Kingdom - excluding Northern Ireland - I am convinced that most people would not give two hoots whether Ireland was ruled from London, Dublin, or even Brussels- they just want the killing to stop and the gangsters from running the show.

The British Government has been trying to solve the Northern Ireland troubles for almost 30 years without success - isnt it about time they handed it over lock stock and gun-barrel to the United Nations, who have already expressed a willingness to become involved?

Republican terrorists would lose their spurious War against the British army of occupation justification for mass murder and the loyalist terrorists could no longer continue to drape their criminal activities in the Union Flag.

Britains continuing involvement does nothing but motivate bigoted gangsterism which the poor people of Northern Ireland could well do without.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.