Windsor Framework – pushing ahead

Unionist parties must reach out to the centre ground

Sir, – Your excellent editorial “The Irish Times view on the Windsor Framework: EU and UK right to push ahead” (March 26th) doesn’t sufficiently highlight that the majority of the people in Northern Ireland actually want to push ahead, are sick sore and tired of the endless Brexit psychodramas and the DUP’s games, both of which have caused, and are causing, serious economic, political and cultural damage.

It’s time to accept reality, embrace what is agreed, work to further refine things that require sensible adjustments, and push ahead with the opportunities, rather than focus on the problems.

It is also paradoxical that those who most vehemently denounce the framework are the very ones who told us how simple and how wonderful Brexit would be. Given their past judgment has been proven to be so completely wide of the mark, it’s probably safe to say the new agreement must be good after all. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – In the often febrile political world on the island of Ireland, words and names matter. So it is with political parties such as the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland. In Britain, it is sometimes forgotten that the full title of the Conservative Party is the Conservative and Unionist Party. Just as some observers began to wonder whether the Conservative Party is in danger of losing its unionist roots, so surely increasingly many must wonder whether the DUP can justify retaining the word “democratic” in its title.

In the fractured state of politics in Northern Ireland and impasse at Stormont, one could ask the DUP how it can argue that it is more democratic than its sister unionist party, the Ulster Unionist Party, which declares itself as more open to returning to Stormont.

Recent polls show that a majority of both voters in Northern Ireland and of unionist-inclined voters accept the Windsor Framework as the means of resolving the Northern Ireland Protocol issues.

Where is the evidence for the DUP’s apparent assertion that its core supporters are more interested in the party staying away from Stormont than resolving issues with health services, cost of living and education?

The logical end result of a sustained absence of the DUP from Stormont is some form of direct rule, a result which surely diminishes the influence of not just the DUP but unionism itself.

This would be doing unionism a great disservice and leave those unionists who seek a pragmatic way ahead out in the cold.

A February 2023 editorial in the Times of London described the DUP as an “unworthy ally” of the British prime minister. This is a long way from the days when the DUP wielded influence at Westminster.

For unionism to coexist and prosper alongside nationalism, it requires the unionist parties to reach out to the centre ground: to initiate imaginative new policies rather than appearing endlessly reactive.

It is time that devolution and a proper democracy are restored at Stormont. Expecting Westminster to resolve the challenges of Northern Ireland is an illusion. – Yours, etc,



Co Antrim.