Do not ignore unionists if you want a durable solution in Northern Ireland, Diane Dodds tells visiting EU delegation at Stormont
Diane Dodds, who is currently an MLA for Upper Bann and was formerly one of Northern Ireland’s three MEPs between 2009 and 2020, briefed members of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in Stormont yesterday.
Speaking in Parliament Buildings, Mrs Dodds urged the visiting delegation to take “serious thought of the unionist viewpoint”.
Mrs Dodds said: “MEPs speak often about protecting the Belfast Agreement yet political progress in Northern Ireland is built on the support of unionists and nationalists. Not one unionist MLA supported the protocol. The idea that one section of our people will dominate the other and ignore the concerns of unionists will never produce durable or balanced outcomes.”
Mrs Dodds also said: “There is no solid basis for an executive and assembly until we have arrangements that restore Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market and our constitutional arrangements are respected.
“We all want to see devolution restored and we are continuing to engage in discussions with the UK government to try to bring about the fair and sustainable conditions that are necessary to get the assembly and executive functioning. However, this can only happen when Northern Ireland’s position within the United Kingdom is both respected and protected in law.”
The Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney met with members of the MEP delegation including the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs David McAllister and Chair of the Delegation to the EU-UK Parliamentary Partnership Assembly Nathalie Loiseau.
SF’s Brexit spokesperson said: “I was delighted to meet with a delegation of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee today. I commended the committee on its consistent engagement with political and civic leaders in the north, and addressed the huge importance of the Peace Plus official announcement just last week.”
He added: “The committee is currently working on a report on the implementation of the Windsor Framework. I strongly welcome that members of the committee restated their support for the Windsor Framework and the restoration of our political institutions.”