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Sinn Fein running away from public statements on border poll, Donaldson claims

The DUP leader said the republican party was not being honest about its intention to press for a referendum post-election.

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Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (Liam McBurney/PA)

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (Liam McBurney/PA)

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (Liam McBurney/PA)

Sinn Fein is trying to conceal its real intention to push for a border poll after the Assembly election, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has claimed.

The DUP leader said the republican party was running away from making public statements about a referendum on unity because, he claimed, it had realised that it was not a pressing issue for the electorate.

Sir Jeffrey was commenting after Sinn Fein Stormont leader Michelle O’Neill said people in Northern Ireland were not currently waking up thinking about unity and were instead focused on the cost-of-living crisis.

She said while the day for a vote on reunification would come, she said her focus in the election was addressing soaring living costs for families.

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DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson during the launch of his party’s election campaign at Dundonald Cinema on Monday (Liam McBurney/PA)

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson during the launch of his party’s election campaign at Dundonald Cinema on Monday (Liam McBurney/PA)

PA

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson during the launch of his party’s election campaign at Dundonald Cinema on Monday (Liam McBurney/PA)

The DUP leader claimed this was not the message Sinn Fein was delivering during meetings with US politicians during St Patrick’s week last month.

Sir Jeffrey, who joined DUP election candidates on a visit to the north west on Tuesday, said: “I note that today Sinn Fein are once again running away from their campaign for a border poll.

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“Last week and the week before they were running around Washington and New York promoting this campaign for a border poll but they have caught themselves on now because that’s not what people in Northern Ireland want.

“They don’t want a divisive border poll. They want their political parties to be addressing the issues that really matter to them – the cost-of-living crisis, the pressures that households are under at this time.

“So, Sinn Fein need to come clean with the people of Northern Ireland, they need to tell us are they going to push for a border poll after the election, or are they going to try and hide that from the people of Northern Ireland? It’s time Sinn Fein told us what their real intention is.”

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Sinn Fein’s deputy leader Michelle O’Neill speaking at a Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce event in Belfast on Tuesday (Liam McBurney/PA)

Sinn Fein’s deputy leader Michelle O’Neill speaking at a Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce event in Belfast on Tuesday (Liam McBurney/PA)

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Sinn Fein’s deputy leader Michelle O’Neill speaking at a Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce event in Belfast on Tuesday (Liam McBurney/PA)

He added: “Sinn Fein should be open and honest about its divisive border poll plans.

“Only two weeks ago they were happy to talk about their divisive border poll plan in Washington and New York to senators and congressmen.

“Why does Sinn Fein not want to talk about their divisive border plans in Northern Ireland?

“The people of Northern Ireland deserve honesty from Sinn Fein and its leaders.”


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