Belfast Telegraph

Twitter produces overreaction every day: Alliance split over Foster's Brexit 'blood red lines'

Sorcha Eastwood of the Alliance Party
Sorcha Eastwood of the Alliance Party

Members of the Alliance Party have split over comments made by DUP leader Arlene Foster that her party's lines on Brexit ran "blood red".

Asked if her MPs would vote down a Brexit deal that sees Northern Ireland remain in the customs union, Mrs Foster told the BBC earlier this week: "We don't want to be in that position. This is too important to be playing around with things because this is the union- this is what brought me in to politics. It's very important for us that we get this right."

Asked how red her red lines are, the DUP leader replied: "The red line is blood red, it's very red."

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph Mrs Foster also said the Good Friday Agreement was not "sacrosanct".

Alliance executive member Sorcha Eastwood, posting on social media, slammed Mrs Foster's use of the term "blood red".

She wrote: "Blood red? NI saw thousands of lives lost through bitter, sectarian senseless conflict. Her inference here is truly terrifying- what is she saying ? bloodshed?"

She added: "Really disgusted and angered by Foster and her tactless, thundering dangerous rhetoric. What politician in Northern Ireland would refer to "blood red" lines?"

However, other party members disagreed with Ms Eastwood's assessment of Mrs Foster's comments, saying it was an overreaction to a "reflexive comment" by Mrs Foster.

Trevor Lunn MLA at his Alliance Party Office

Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn: "I don’t agree with Sorcha’s comments on this. Arlene gave a quick response to an unexpected and frankly silly question. It didn’t sound remotely threatening to me. Twitter produces overreaction every day."

Alliance councillor Kate Nichol said that while she could see how it's been taken that way, "I also personally think it was stupid language - not calculated. (For me her disregard for the GFA and the current political path we’re being forced down is more sinister!)"

Alliance councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown also weighed in, writing: "I’m as hard on the DUP as anybody and in my view this was more reflexive than anything sinister. Don’t think we can really impute the sorts of motivations above without opening ourselves to the charge of overreacting. I agree Kate, her disinterest in the GFA is more frightening."

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