WATCH: Crowd cheers for the destruction of the 1998 Belfast Agreement at loyalist rally

A number of speakers at last night’s rally in Ballymoney against the Protocol have poured scorn on the Belfast Agreement.

By Adam Kula
Saturday, 26th March 2022, 11:44 am
Updated Saturday, 26th March 2022, 12:47 pm

They were Brexiteer businessman Ben Habib, loyalist activist Jamie Bryson, and ex-Labour MP (now peer) Kate Hoey.

This trio all focussed key parts of their remarks on the 1998 Agreement.

Kate Hoey mocked UUP leader Doug Beattie for his absence, saying: told the crowd: “I keep thinking sometimes when I come to these rallies, at the last minute someone called Doug Beattie might rush up and be on the platform. That hasn’t happened so far.”

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Kate Hoey at the rally

On the 1998 deal, she said: “I have absolutely no sorrow at all in saying: I’m sorry I voted for the Belfast Agreement. I think there’s an awful lot of people who are also sorry.”

And Ben Habib told the crowd that people must be ready to throw out the agreement if it does not allow the Northern Irish public to affirm their place in the Union.

“I’m going to let you in to a confidence,” he said.

Ben Habib speaks during an anti-Northern Ireland Protocol rally and parade, organised by North Antrim Amalgamated Orange Committee, in Ballymoney, Co Antrim. Picture date: Friday March 25, 2022.

“Six or seven weeks ago I saw Jamie Bryson tweet something about the need to get rid of the Belfast Agreement.

“I texted Jamie and said: Jamie be careful – we’ve got a battle on our hands with the Protocol, we don’t need to widen the debate.

“But I’m afraid Jamie was right and I was wrong.

“If the courts find, as they have done, that the Belfast Agreement does not protect the right of the people to have their say, then the Belfast Agreement itself must go!”

Jamie Bryson at the rally

There has been a distinct hardening of attitudes in recent years towards the Good Friday Agreement.

In loyalist heartlands like Rathcoole in Newtownabbey, and Carrickfergus, signs and graffiti have gone up declaring the 1998 treaty “broken”.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Jim Allister also shared last night’s platform too.

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