Time to ‘dial down rhetoric’ over shock EU move, Eastwood urges unionists

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has called on unionist politicians to show leadership in the coming days, pull back from ‘rash statements and dial down their anti-EU rhetoric’.
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The Foyle MP made a direct appeal to all political leaders to come together to make the protocol work.

“It is important in the coming days that unionist politicians show leadership and that all of us work together to make sure the Northern Ireland protocol operates effectively,” he said.

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“The events of Friday show the grave sensitivity around these issues and it is now vital that political leaders in Ireland, Britain and the EU focus on the way forward.”

Colm EastwoodColm Eastwood
Colm Eastwood

His comments came after the EU caused shockwaves by announcing the triggering of a post-Brexit mechanism to control the export of vaccines into the north amid consternation over global supply. The move however took governments in Belfast, Dublin, London and across the EU by surprise and was later reversed.

DUP Leader Arlene Foster urged the UK government to act after claiming the move by the EU was “incredibly hostile and aggressive,” and in one fell swoop hadmoved to put a hard border in place on the island of Ireland.

Mr Eastwood however urged: “People here know all too well the damage that can be done from rash statements and intemperate language. I am making a direct call to unionist political leaders to refrain from such commentary and to dial-down the rhetoric which we’ve heard since Friday evening..

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“The inalienable facts are that Britain has left both the Single Market and the Customs Union. This means checks have to take place somewhere.

“A hard border on the island of Ireland would be totally impractical. The only solution to this is the protocol. We all need to work together, avoid all intemperate and divisive language and ensure its full implementation.”