NI Protocol: Mike Nesbitt demands Stephen Farry withdraws ‘grievance factory’ accusation against unionists

UUP MLA Mike Nesbitt has demanded that Alliance MP Stephen Farry withdraw an accusation that unionists are engaging in a ‘grievance factory’ in relation to the NI Protocol.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 11:46 am
Updated Monday, 21st June 2021, 12:35 pm

Mr Nesbitt responded to what he said was Mr Farry’s “outrageous comment” made on the Nolan Show this morning in a discussion on the NI Protocol.

Mike Nesbitt said: “Mr Farry is wrong on all sorts of levels. Firstly, he is wrong to dismiss unionist concerns about the Ireland / Northern Ireland Protocol. If he was able to walk a mile in a unionist’s shoes, he would understand the sense of betrayal unionism feels about the Prime Minister cutting this deal with the EU. Rather than poking unionism unnecessarily with such inflammatory language, he might consider a more empathetic approach.

“Secondly, his choice of words drive a coach and horses through the Declaration of Support which is front and centre of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement. That Declaration commits people like Mr Farry to being tolerant of others, work towards reconciliation within our community, showing respect for others and building mutual trust. Accusing unionism of creating a ‘grievance factory’ fails all four of those tests, spectacularly.

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UUP MLA Mike Nesbitt. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

“What is said is said and will be noted by unionists. If Mr Farry is serious about upholding the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, he should withdraw and apologise.”

In response, Mr Farry Tweeted: “Is this yet another grievance? Manufactured outrage and deflection from actually dealing practically and realistically with genuine problems.”

In a further statement to the News Letter, Mr Farry said: “This response from Mike Nesbitt typifies the point I am making. There is too much manufactured outrage rather than focusing on practical issues. I am very much aware about problems and challenges in relation to the Northern Ireland Protocol. But there are some pragmatic solutions available including a Veterinary Agreement. Yet elements of unionism and loyalism don’t want to know. Instead, we have a series of unrealistic demands based on poor analysis and judgement from the UUP and others including calling for the resignation of the Chief Constable, two-tier policing, and demands to scrap, rather than fix, the Protocol.”

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