26/05/2022

Congressman Accused Of 'Biased View Of NI's Past And Present'

The Ulster Unionist Party has said that comments made by US Congressman Richard Neal "demonstrate a biased view of Northern Ireland's past and present".

Reacting to comments made by the US Congressman, UUP Leader Doug Beattie said: "The Ulster Unionist Party has been actively engaging, providing alternatives and solutions to the Protocol since it was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2019. We will continue to do so, but comments from Congressman Richard Neal make the road ahead much harder. He has got it completely wrong and rather than charging around like a bull in a china shop, he needs to stop, pause, listen and reflect.
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"The issues around the Protocol are in no way manufactured, indeed they have been known about and discussed at every level since we raised them in October 2019. For Richard Neal to suggest they are, demonstrates a lack of understanding of the damage which the Protocol is doing and that he is somewhat removed from the reality of the situation.

"His comments which refer to people as 'planters' are derogatory to many unionists. His thinking and terminology are of a time past. We have friends in the United States which we need to engage with more and Congressman Neal's biased view of the past and the present, are not representative of American diplomacy. It's time that those with influence in the US, Irish Government and EU called on him to temper his ill-judged and unhelpful comments.

"We will meet Congressman Richard Neal and his delegation on Thursday and I hope that they will be open to listening and reflecting so that we can make progress for the benefit of all the people of Northern Ireland. When he returns to the United States he needs to be informed of the full picture, reflective of all views. It's time for constructive politics to deliver solutions and that starts with using the language conducive to creating good relations."

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