Alliance now third nationlist party, says veteran UUP councillor

Alliance’s support for the backstop is indicative of the party’s “direction of travel for the future,” a unionist councillor has claimed.

Monday, 4th March 2019, 5:46 pm
Updated Monday, 4th March 2019, 6:50 pm
UUP councillor Jim Rodgers

UUP alderman Jim Rodgers said Alliance’s stance on Brexit, along with its “track record” in Belfast City Hall, meant many unionists now see it as “a third nationalist party”.

The former lord mayor added: “This is because they are seen at Michelle O’Neill’s shoulder when protests over an Irish language act are being held and they have also thrown their lot in with the taoiseach in supporting a backstop which drives a coach and horses through the Belfast Agreement, undermines the principle of consent and totally ignores the concerns of unionists.

“My experience of Alliance in Belfast City Council is that they are in effect in coalition with Sinn Fein and following a nationalist agenda.”

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He added that Alliance is now “actively courting the nationalist vote having spent years attacking unionists”.

In response to these remarks, an Alliance spokesperson said: “While councillor Rodgers and his colleagues on Belfast City Council remain focused on spreading myths about Alliance, we remain focused on working for everyone across the city and delivering the best possible outcome for Northern Ireland – which includes a backstop.”