The LCC Speak for Unionism on an International Stage -by Michael Lagan

Downing Street has hit back at Ursula von der Leyen’s “disappointing” lack of recognition of the anger in the North after the European Commission President blamed Brexit for recent problems. The ‘disappointment’ stemmed from President von der Leyen’s assertion that the problems in the North were the result of Brexit in general, not the NI Protocol…and she’s right. The problem is not everyone in the North is as “angry” as the UK Government makes us out to be.  Increasingly everyone in the North is being generalised within this context of the word ‘Northern Ireland’ or ‘Northern Irish’ and more worryingly, it is being used by the Unionist parties and Loyalist community activists.  

The reason for the generalisation of this discontent and ‘anger’ is to once again, make this ‘anger’ a ‘Northern Irish’ issue rather than a Unionist issue.  It was the same intent when Loyalism brought their riots to the peace-line in Belfast.  Unionists are not getting the movement they want from the EU or the British Government.  They want the NI Protocol removed entirely, which isn’t going to happen.  It took four long years to negotiate the NI Protocol and neither side is going to tear it up for a tiny state like the North.  

The LCC has become embroiled once again in the politics of the North on an international stage, something which, simply put, should not be permitted. How can a band of terrorists hidden behind a legal organisation be permitted to speak on behalf of the people of the North of Ireland?  They clearly make reference to “the people of Northern Ireland” in their statement to Ursula von der Leyen –

“I would appeal to her to start listening and to recognise that the imposition of the Protocol on the people of Northern Ireland without their involvement or consent is unsustainable and actually contrary to many of the key founding tenets of the European Union.”

Clearly, to anyone from the North, the LCC is referring to Loyalists and Unionists in this statement when they speak of “the people of Northern Ireland.” However, refraining from differentiating between those ‘for and against’ the NI Protocol with the intention of reducing all parties in the North to being against the Protocol, is most certainly false.  Terminology is important in politics, both foreign and domestic and the LCC obviously recognise this.  Had the LCC referred to ‘the Unionist people of Northern Ireland’ they would most certainly have shown a weakened position as the North voted to ‘Remain’ in the EU with the vast majority of Northern Irish not having much problem with the NI Protocol.  In fact, many are calling for the DUP and Unionism to work with the Protocol rather than against it.

It’s extremely telling that the LCC accuse President von der Leyen of being happy “to watch Northern Ireland descend into chaos this summer.” Clearly threatening violence seems to be the way forward for Unionism over the NI Protocol.  I note that when Republicans were using violence in an attempt to bring about a united Ireland in their own country it was deemed ‘terrorism’ by Unionists and Loyalists.  Yet when the very same Unionists and Loyalists are threatening violence to retain someone else’s country within the UK, those carrying out the violence will no doubt be deemed freedom fighters and heroes.  Oh the irony.

The statement goes on to urge the Irish Government to “man up” and to admit it misled the EU Commission on the “compatibility of the NI Protocol with the Belfast Agreement and its impact on both communities in Northern Ireland.”  Once again, the LCC, an organisation which comprises three Loyalist terrorist organisations deems itself worthy to speak on behalf of both communities in the North, one of which it dedicated its history to killing.  From a personal point of view…how dare they!  One point the LCC may want to remember is when the British Government was sitting on their hands on the NI Protocol, the Irish MEPs were working behind the scenes with the EU and the Commission to have parts of the NI Protocol softened and refined so as to make things easier for the UK and the North of Ireland.  As we all know now, the British Government under Boris Johnson suspended, unilaterally I might add, several parts of the NI Protocol, completely making all the hard work by Irish MEPs void.  So much for “our closest neighbour” eh?

The statement ends with a paragraph stating –

“But be clear – the protocol has to go and will go.  The people of Northern Ireland will not accept this diktat from yet another unelected German.”

The venom in that one paragraph, the veiled threat of violence is clear and once again all people of the North are being referred to as “the people of Northern Ireland” as if we’re all as angered by the NI Protocol as Loyalists and Unionists.  That 90% of the anger surrounding the NI Protocol for Unionists is constitutional, should tell the EU that “the people of Northern Ireland” refers to Unionists and at some point the ‘other people’ wrapped up in those words must make it clear they do not hold the same views over the NI Protocol as three terrorist groups who are still very much armed, and Unionist politicians who would like nothing more than to go back to the days when Irish citizens were seen as second class to their Unionist neighbours.

Three terrorist organisations are dictating Unionism on an international stage.  Three proscribed organisations are dictating the future of the North for everyone it seems, including Catholics, Nationalists, Republicans and ‘other’.  Do we speak up and make it clear the LCC doesn’t speak for all people in “Northern Ireland”? Or do we sit back and allow people who were once hellbent on killing Catholics and Irish citizens to dictate our future?  Your choice!

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