Belfast Telegraph

While Sinn Fein dress up for Brexit demonstrations, we'll work to keep trade moving, says DUP MP

By James Gant

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said that while Sinn Fein continue their boycotts of the Assembly and Westminster spending their time in "costumes" for anti-Brexit "performances," his party will work to keep trade moving across the border after the split from the EU.

Sinn Fein branded the DUP's relationship with the Conservatives as "toxic to the peace process" in a letter to Secretary of State Karen Bradley.

MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir and MPs Paul Maskey, Michelle Gildernew joined around 20 Sinn Fein protesters to delivere the message to the Northern Ireland Office at Stormont on Wednesday.

Mr O Muilleoir, MLA for South Belfast, said: “We are making a point that is evident to all sensible people here to mitigate against the excesses of the extreme Brexiteers that the marriage between the DUP and the Tories is toxic to the people of the north."

“We’re asking Mrs May to look above and beyond that relationship and alliance she has with the DUP and instead make a decision which is in line with what she said previously - to remain in the customs union, remain in the single market for the all-Ireland economy, but also protect the agreement, peace and reconciliation.”

Demonstrators walked from the statue of Unionist politician Edward Carson to the Northern Ireland Office, as similar protests took place at the front gates of Queen’s University and St Mary’s University College at noon.

Three protesters wore Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg masks while holding placards stating "Protect the Good Friday Agreement" and "No Border, No Brexit."

Deaglan McConville - who has just completed a masters degree in human rights - said Brexit was voted for by the people of England and they were "pulling us out of the European Union against the will of the people here".

“In doing so I can’t see anything that the British government is proposing that doesn’t impose a hard border in Ireland and for the people of Ireland.”

He added: “It’s unacceptable, it’s not what we want and it’s not what we voted for. We never wanted a border, so that’s my main concern.”

DUP MP Gregory Campbell accused Sinn Fein of spending more time on costumes for their "performance" than checking facts.

“Sinn Fein continue boycotting the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Executive and the House of Commons but instead spend their time erecting posters and handing in letters of protest to the Secretary of State.

“Unfortunately, Mairtin O’Muilleoir and his colleagues seem to have spent more time on their costumes for today’s performance than on checking facts in their letter.

"We will continue to focus on ensuring that trade can continue across the border but also that our local businesses are not pushed out of the single market which matters, the UK single market.”

Paul Maskey, MP for Belfast West, Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew, and party president Mary Lou McDonald met Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in Westminster on Monday.

They demanded a referendum on the future of Northern Ireland’s relationship with the EU if there was no Brexit deal - to avoid a hard border with the Republic.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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