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DUP might learn talking is harder than walking

The recent Press speculation in relation to proposed merger of the DUP and Ulster Unionist Party is nothing more than that - speculation.

It is interesting to note that, while the likes of Sammy Wilson and even Peter Robinson seem to be suggesting such a 'notion', there are no similar vibes coming from the UUP side.

As someone who has been a member of the UUP for over 30 years I have seen the antics of the DUP fairly closely. Our leadership has been castigated, our elected members have been subjected to both verbal and physical assault at the hands of so-called 'fellow unionists' and despite the 'smash Sinn Fein' rhetoric of Ian Paisley over the years, his intention was to smash the UUP.

He nearly succeeded. In 2007, he became the leader of unionism and with this mighty power he negotiated one of the worst deals that could be done in respect of the Assembly. He and his team created a nightmare scenario where we could have a Sinn Fein First Minister, they tinkered with the Belfast Agreement and weakened the Unionist position.

Where was he when the negotiations were being undertaken? He and his mates were outside the tent - doing what those outside the tent are best at.

The DUP have undoubtedly been weakened by the recent wave of bad publicity, the expenses scandals, the triple and double-jobbing and other incidents.

We in the Ulster Unionist community do not need to pull the DUP out of a hole that they have dug themselves into. We have been left out of all negotiations in respect of policing and justice while DUP and Sinn Fein partners in Government attempt to seal side deals behind closed doors.

We have stood alone - the DUP walked away from every possible talks that would have resolved the problems over many years while the UUP made the hard decisions. Maybe now the DUP have realised that talking is harder than walking.

CLLR ROSS HUSSEY

Omagh District Council

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