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DUP Leader Arlene Foster, Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds, Westminster Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Newry & Armagh MLA William Irwin met with the leadership of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland this afternoon.

After the meeting Mrs Foster said,

“This was a very useful meeting where we commended the Order on the positive leadership they have been giving throughout the covid-19 pandemic by both adjusting how the organisation functions and also the hundreds of volunteer members working throughout the community to help the vulnerable. Having lost more than 30 members to the illness, we were impressed by the organisation’s determination to play its part in getting Northern Ireland through this crisis.

We also discussed the growing crisis in Northern Ireland with regard to the Northern Ireland Protocol. The societal and economic disruption caused directly by the Protocol cannot be ignored. We briefed the Order on our five-point plan to free Northern Ireland from the Protocol. We also underscored the need for unionism to work together and speak with one voice in pressing the Prime Minister to take action.

Northern Ireland needs action from the Prime Minister. Having talked about it, Boris Johnson now needs to prove that he will use all the powers at his disposal to help the people of Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland needs a long-term solution rather than a series of sticking plasters that simply push the problem down the road.”