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DUP MLA Alex Easton has said that everyone who supports Northern Ireland's place within the United Kingdom must promote the benefits of the Union.

He said, "Historically, Northern Ireland has been considered to have two different groups of peoples; however, there has been an obvious shift away from this perspective. No longer do we speak of Unionists and Nationalists, but of Unionists, Nationalists, and ‘others’.

Whilst there is evidence to show that many of those categorised as 'other' support the Union there is an ongoing need to highlight and promote the benefits of being part of the United Kingdom.

Outlandish promises such as claims that the NHS would be replicated in a united Ireland only serve to demonstrate just how significant our National Health Service is and how we benefit from being inside the Union. Those who peddle the myth usually neglect to mention that Irish taxpayers would be both unable and unwilling to provide such a service. The same also applies to other vital services such as the fire services, with individuals in the Republic billed up to €750 for a call-out, depending on where they live.

The Covid-19 pandemic not only provided us with the example of the vaccine roll-out, but of the UK-wide schemes to assist in retaining jobs and businesses. These may not have been perfect, but it should be noted that the IMF singled out the UK to praise the government for its extensive response, highlighting both its generosity and speed.

These, and many other arguments in favour of our place in the United Kingdom must continue to be extolled. They can and will continue to ensure that people from all backgrounds recognise their best interests are served inside the UK and their culture and identity is comfortably accommodated within the UK.

There is no contradiction in not wishing to see a destabilising border poll whilst also not fearing such an event and promoting the benefits of the Union. The centenary of Northern Ireland presents us with a unique opportunity to promote the benefits of our position within the United Kingdom and kick-start what should be a positive and ongoing campaign.

We have reason however to be optimistic about the place from which we start and to believe that we will be part of the Union for another 100 years."