DUP anger as Sinn Fein accused of pushing border poll during cross-party Stormont trip to US

Sinn Fein is more interested in promoting a “divisive” border poll during a St Patrick’s week Stormont cross-party trip to America than boosting US economic investment to Northern Ireland, a DUP minister charged on Wednesday night.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 7:30 pm
Taoiseach Micheal Martin during a press conference in Washington on Wednesday. US newspaper ads placed by Sinn Fein urge him to be 'an advocate for Irish unity'
Taoiseach Micheal Martin during a press conference in Washington on Wednesday. US newspaper ads placed by Sinn Fein urge him to be 'an advocate for Irish unity'

Tens of thousands of dollars have been spent in the New York Times and other US papers this week by Sinn Fein’s American supporters on advertisements urging the Irish government to promote a border poll, it has emerged.

Titled ‘Unity In Our Time’ the ad is a letter from six Irish-American organisations challenging Taoiseach Micheal Martin to “plan, prepare and advocate for Irish unity” and was supported by Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald.

The Irish-American campaign groups includes the Friends of Sinn Fein USA, which paid for the advertisement, and call on the Irish government to convene a ‘Citizens Assembly’ in the Republic to plan for a united Ireland.

The half-page ad appeared on Tuesday not only in the New York Times but also in eight other US newspapers including The Washington Post and the LA Times. The cost of a single half page in the New York Times alone is more than $44,000 according to the paper’s 2019 advertising rates.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said Sinn Fein appeared focused only on promoting a constitutional referendum instead of trying to secure jobs for people in the Province financially crushed by the cost-of-living crisis.

The East Antrim DUP MLA said: “This week I have been in the United States focused on securing investment, growing our economy and boosting jobs in Northern Ireland. Given the huge challenges we have faced over the last two years, and we continue to face at present, the combined focus of everyone should be on securing help for families struggling to pay their bills.

“While the DUP has a plan for Northern Ireland to secure progress and to move forward together, Sinn Fein have nothing to offer other than a divisive border poll.”

He continued: “There has been enough disruption over the last two years without Sinn Fein having a sole focus on creating more around a border poll.

“While I am using my time in the US to impress upon decision-makers and investors the potential of Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein is drumming up thousands of dollars for a border poll campaign.”

The DUP, Sinn Fein and the SDLP will be meeting with President Joe Biden in the White House for the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations.