Nesbitt says his unionism not lessened by Leinster House visit


On the occasion of the first address by an Ulster Unionist Party leader to an Oireachtas committee, Mike Nesbitt MLA said his presence in Leinster House would not undermine his position on constitutional issues.

“I don’t fear that my unionism is being undermined by being here,” he told the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Commenting on Queen Elizabeth’s visit to the Republic last year, he said it was “an example to all of us that we can do these things without compromise to our own identity, heritage or belief-systems”.

He added: “I look forward, I hope, to the queen and Martin McGuinness shaking hands later this month.”

UUP deputy leader John McCallister MLA said Northern Ireland needed “to move away from the politics of carve-up” and there was too much “institutionalised sectarianism”.

Senator Martin McAleese said the committee meeting was “a very significant occasion”. Mr McAllister and Mr Nesbitt also attended a Seanad debate on the decade of commemorations.