I CAME TO NORTHERN IRELAND 40 YEARS AGO THIS YEAR AND I PREFER TO LIVE HERE THAN IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND.
I have no desire to see a UNITED IRELAND. But I would be quite happy to see a NEW IRELAND.
I am not a Republican or a Nationalist - and I am not a Unionist or a Loyalist.
I think that many of these terms hark back to the divided past. We cannot live in the past. We must live in the present and look forward to the future.
Recent polls have shown that the "Catholic" population is increasing and the "Protestant" one decreasing.
Some experts say that by 2021 Northern Ireland will have a majority of "Catholics". But that does not mean that all those "Catholics" will vote with Sinn Fein for a United Ireland.
As the two largest parties in Northern Ireland Sinn Fein and the DUP have a huge responsibility to lead all of us away from the divided past and towards a better future.
Unfortunately, there are still many dinosaurs on bother sides that are wanting to yell: "NO SURRENDER".
To achieve a better future each side needs to show a great generousity towards each other and stop laying down red lines.
Sinn Fein is holding out for A STAND ALONE IRISH LANGUAGE ACT.
That is not really necessary.
I think that a new, modern Culture and Language Act would be fine.
Such an act could safeguard the languages and cultures of all - Irish, British and all those other minority cultures that now exist in Northern Ireland.
People should be allowed to set up and run viable Irish language schools - and many others will be happy to continue supporting the English language schools that are in the majority.
But we must be practical and recognize that English is the everyday language of the vast majority of people all over this island.
I think it would be madness - and very expensive - to have every street and road sign in Northern Ireland in both English and Irish.
I would much prefer to see that kind of money put into our health service.
I studied Irish for the 14 years I was in primary and secondary school and have a fondness for the language.
But I do not need to see the signs in the town and street where I live in both English and Irish.
If you want to pay homage in Irish to the place in which you live then call your house by an Irish name and let that form part of your address.
And the DUP is not helping anyone by banning same-sex marriage just because many of their members are from some kind of fundamentally Protestant background - even though the rest of the UK - which they say they love - has same-sex marriage.
We must get away from parish pump politics and develop a politics that is in tune with the global world we are all moving towards.
If there was a poll about a United Ireland tomorrow I would vote "No".
And I would vote like that because:
1. We have a better standard of living as part of the UK at the moment.
2. I prefer to live in a diverse society than in a one culture society.
3. And for me personally, I think that the Roman Catholic Church still has a little too much influence in the Republic - even though that influence is on the wane.
However, that "subtle" influence is there - especially in a party like Fianna Fail which has been traditionally the party of the farmers and the RC Church.
In the past, the Unionists were right when they said: "Home Rule is Rome Rule".
Of course, at the same time, "Ulster" was a Protestant statelet for a Protestant people.
All these models are now outdated.
Saint Patrick was accredited with ridding Ireland of snakes.
Perhaps we need to pray to him that he will now rid Ireland of the dinosaurs - on both sides.