‘Unionism getting bad name’ from NI Protocol protestors

The son of a UVF murder victim has urged unionists and nationalists to unite to make the best of the NI Protocol, and to sideline loyalist paramilitaries threatening violence.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 7:15 am
Raymond McCord snr. Pic: Colm Lenaghan /Pacemaker

Raymond McCord whose son Raymond Jnr was murdered by the UVF in north Belfast in 1997, said: “We have young people within our own unionist community, who are still at school, who went out rioting, and they were encouraged by other sinister people.

“For me, that is not what unionism is about in any way whatsoever.

“I want the critics of the protocol within unionism or loyalism circles to explain what the alternative is.

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“It’s no use saying ‘let’s get rid of that’ as no one has come forward with anything to replace it.”

Mr McCord said he believes a small number of people are exaggerating the constitutional and trading difficulties being caused by the post-Brexit protocol which was negotiated between the UK government and the European Union.

He said: “Why is it that a very small minority within unionism thinks that they represent us?

“Look at the [protest] parades and look at the numbers involved. People prefer to sit in their gardens in the sunshine.”

He added: “It shouldn’t be sectarian. And as for encouraging people to go out and protest – it is ordinary unionist people who are going to go out and end up with criminal records.”

Mr McCord said he hasn’t seen evidence from the business community that business is being badly disrupted, and claimed that a small number of “agitators” were over-stating the difficulties in trading between GB and NI.

“I would like to know what is so bad about the protocol. Up until now, it hasn’t taken any bread off my table or any money out of my wallet.”

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