Sir, – Alex Kane, a former director of communications for the Ulster Unionist Party, has written seven separate articles in The Irish Times in recent weeks which have been critical of the direction of unionism in recent decades and strongly critical of the DUP in particular.
Surely Mr Kane’s perspective is not the only one within unionism at present? Are there no other voices who could air contrasting viewpoints?
Alternative perspectives appear to be particularly necessary in view of the unfortunate timing of Mr Kane’s prediction that the DUP would accept the Windsor Framework (“A route exists for DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson to go back into the NI Assembly”, Opinion & Analysis, March 20th), a forecast which was proven to be well wide of the mark on the very day it was published. – Yours, etc,
THOMAS RYAN, BL
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Sir, – The British prime minister has described the Windsor Framework agreement as “delivering smooth-flowing trade within the whole of the UK, protecting Northern Ireland’s place in the Union and safeguarding sovereignty for the people of Northern Ireland”.
So how can the DUP oppose such an agreement?
There can be only two answers to that question. The first is that the DUP simply does not believe the British prime minister. That is a very serious decision to take which must undermine their current tenuous relationship with the Conservative party.
The second and more plausible answer is that the DUP will not under any circumstances enter into a power-sharing executive with a Sinn Féin first minister.
The Windsor Framework has now clearly shown that the NI protocol has been used by the DUP as a bogus reason to avoid entering the NI Executive but it also highlights the fact that the DUP has a semi-detached approach to democracy.
Since its foundation in 1971, the DUP has opposed every form of power-sharing including the Belfast Agreement. In 2016, it was the democratic wish of the people of Northern Ireland to remain in the EU yet the DUP allied themselves with the hard Brexiteers in Westminster and were themselves instrumental in the very creation of the NI protocol.
If, as seems likely, the Windsor Framework is approved by the UK parliament, it must call into serious question just what type of allegiance or form of democracy the DUP believes in. What is more important is for responsible politicians both here and in the UK to be completely honest with the public and accept the fact that the DUP has an approach to the will of the people that is at odds with that practiced by elected representatives and governments in modern day democracies. – Yours, etc,
A chara, – News that the DUP will vote against the Windsor Framework is unfortunate, but unsurprising. Regardless of their official stance, the fact remains that the DUP will oppose any solution to the NI protocol as its resolution would deprive them of any excuse not to return to Stormont under a Sinn Féin majority.
Shirking its electoral responsibilities in favour of a self-destructive siege mentality, this latest move reaffirms the character of a party that has more often been a saboteur than a guarantor of the Belfast Agreement and good governance in Northern Ireland in general. – Yours, etc,