I read with great interest the contribution of councillor Tom Smith and his concerns around the Green Party’s meeting with Michel Barnier in Brussels later this month, with Brexit implications for the people of Northern Ireland the main agenda item.
The main concern of councillor Smith appears to be that Sinn Fein will form part of the Brussels delegation. The irony!
Councillor Smith’s party, the DUP, was happy to sit in an Executive with Sinn Fein and hold the joint office of First and deputy First Minister with Martin McGuinness during that time.
However, we all know that the DUP/Sinn Fein relationship came to a crashing end and their split his left Northern Ireland without a government for more than 600 days now. Furthermore, the dysfunctional nature of the government presided over by Sinn Fein and the DUP is becoming painfully clear through the RHI inquiry.
Cllr Smith’s criticisms have a somewhat scorned feel to them, a bitterness and vitriol that is quite unpleasant. It’s all a bit reminiscent of a relationship break up with one half left stung at the prospect of the former partner stepping out with someone else.
Steven Agnew will travel to Brussels to meet with Michel Barnier to voice the concerns of the people of Northern Ireland as we face into Brexit and the prospect of a no deal Brexit. Our mandate is clear as a pro-European party representing a region that voted to remain in the European Union.
Steven Agnew will tell Mr Barnier that we must remain in a Customs Union to ensure frictionless trade and avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland or a border down the Irish Sea.
We will represent a broad range of views, including those of EU nationals, farmers, businesses, students and environmentalists.
Lastly, it’s convenient for DUP councillors to be up in arms about something at present.
I appreciate that the RHI inquiry must make for uncomfortable constituency conversations for any DUP politician. Perhaps its a case at avoiding and distracting from RHI at all cost – easier said than done when the cost amounts to £490 million.
Councillor Rachel Woods, Green Party
North Down & Ards Borough Council