Allister stays sceptical over Unionist Forum’s chances (Belfast NewsLetter)

The leader of the TUV has said he remains sceptical about the Unionist Forum’s chances of success against a backdrop of concessions to nationalists.

Jim Allister said: “When a nation’s flag is taken down it is a symbol of defeat and surrender – a symbol Sinn Fein was on hand to film the flag coming down for their website, even though it happened in the early hours.

“Those who claim it is only a flag are the same people who didn’t understand why people were so passionate about the word Royal in the Royal Ulster Constabulary, about a crown on the side of a courthouse or about a parade that has walked the same route for generations.

“The reality is that many people in Northern Ireland saw the removal of the flag as part of a process where their Britishness has been eroded bit by bit in order to trundle them towards the Belfast Agreement’s ultimate destination of a united Ireland.”

Mr Allister said current arrangements at Stormont would continue to ensure inquiries into alleged misdeeds by security forces but no one ever held accountable for atrocities carried out by republicans.

“I am sceptical about the Unionist Forum. When TUV attended its first meeting we were the only party that reminded the DUP and UUP that the main political parties had failed their electorate on the issue of justice for IRA victims and, pertinently in relation to this issue, the new council boundaries which have made it almost impossible for unionists to gain control of Belfast again – regardless of how many turn out to vote – and the flying of the Union Flag from Stormont.

“If the Forum is to work there needs to be a recognition that the people have been failed on these and other key issues.

“If they don’t it’s time that unionists looked for another party which will stand up for their interests against republicans. Those who empower and sustain Sinn Fein in government are unlikely to be up to the job.”


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