Sir Jeffrey – A return to cross-community consensus can provide foundation for restoration of devolution

DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has called for a return to the principle of consensus and cross community support in order to see the restoration of devolution in Northern Ireland. His comments come as the British Irish Council is due to meet in Blackpool.

Sir Jeffrey said,

“As the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach meet in Blackpool there should be a recommitment to the key issue of consensus and the need for cross-community support in Northern Ireland. If the main aim of both the UK and the EU is to protect the Belfast Agreement then any solution must be built on that key foundation upon which the Agreement itself is based.

Increasingly we hear some parties in Northern Ireland claim to uphold the Agreement on one hand whilst on the other they seek to exclude and sideline unionism. Notably, the desire to exclude one political tradition was not expressed by these same parties at any point during the three years that Sinn Fein prevented the formation of an Executive.

The DUP has set out 7 tests by which new arrangements will be judged. These are not a unionist wish list, but are based on promises that have already been made to the people of Northern Ireland and that should be honoured. It is not too much to ask that the government stands over those promises.

I hope the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach are as keen to see devolution restored as I am. That can only happen however when there is a stable foundation through the provision of cross-community consensus. Restoring Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom and removing the barriers to trade created by the Protocol in a way that can receive unionist support will put that foundation in place.”

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