Cleric urged his children to move from North

A former leader of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland encouraged his children to move away from Northern Ireland because he believed Britain would eventually pull out, according to just-released State papers.

Reverend John Dunlop, a North Belfast minister known for his cross-community peace-building and who went on to become Moderator of the church, met with an Irish government official at his home in December 1986.

Notes of the meeting, just released in the National Archives in Dublin, show Reverend Dunlop “speculated, that in the longer term, the British Government would decide for financial reasons to withdraw from Northern Ireland”.

“The [Anglo-Irish] Agreement already pointed in this direction. He believed that in that eventuality a lot of unionists would move to Britain.

"Already quite a few unionists [including himself] were advising their children to seek employment not in Northern Ireland but in Britain.”

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