‘Political unionism must show leadership rather than follow the crowd’ says SDLP

Scenes of masked men marching through Portadown with paramilitary flags are ‘chilling’ says Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 10:56 am

The SDLP MLA said she understands communities feel disenfranchised and called on political unionism to demonstrate leadership in the days and weeks ahead.

“The scenes of men in balaclavas marching through Portadown, some carrying paramilitary flags and paraphernalia was clearly meant to intimidate. We should have left this in the past.

“We have been listening to those concerns and working hard to address the elements of the protocol which have led to feelings of isolation. We have also been honest with those communities, however - the circumstances of the Brexit that was chosen by the DUP and endorsed by the British Government made checks at ports inevitable. Unionist leaders must also be honest about that reality.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 3 March 2017 - NI Assembly Election 2017 Count at Banbridge Leisure Centre for Newry & Armagh and Upper Bann constituencies. Dolores Kelly(SDLP) makes her acceptance speech. Photo by Tony Hendron / Press Eye.

“The SDLP will work with leaders in all parties to address the challenges of the protocol and maximise what we see as the opportunities. But that must be a two way process. It requires political unionism to show leadership to our communities rather than just following the crowd.”

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