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Councillor criticises MP over ‘civil disobedience’ Brexit comments

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Councillor criticises MP over ‘civil disobedience’ Brexit comments thumbnailSouth Down MP Chris Hazzard

ULSTER Unionist Party Councillor David Taylor has strongly criticised the comments of South Down MP Chris Hazzard regarding possible "civil disobedience" should there be a hard border post-Brexit.

The MP made his comments at a Westminster press conference last week, when he said: "If we see a situation where we are going to have border customs posts or any particular type of hardware, I would think that would be something people won't want.

"And I go even further. An awful lot of the focus has been on maybe dissident republican organisations and threats, but it is wider than that - it goes right down to a feeling of civil disobedience.

"When you talk to normal people in civic society they are very, very angry and frustrated at even the thought of a customs post going up.

"So I think you will see widespread distaste for any notion of a hardened border, and I mean that from civic society. That's the strength of feeling from it."

Those remarks provoked anger among unionists, with Cllr Taylor calling on Sinn Fein to clarify its position.

"Chris Hazzard's implied threat of violence with regard to the possible implementation of border structures after Brexit should be condemned by all right thinking people," he said.

"His comments are completely unacceptable and irresponsible to say the very least. They are a worrying reflection of Sinn Fein's thinking on Brexit and provide a disturbing insight into their future strategic positioning on this issue.

"It is extremely unfortunate that republicans always resort to type by making threats of violence when they fail to get their own way on various political issues.

"Given that Chris Hazzard is saying that these tactics are an extension of 'dissident' republicans, the question must also be asked if Chris Hazzard is reflecting the views of Sinn Fein or the IRA Army Council?

"Sinn Fein must clarify its position in terms of Chris Hazzard's remarks and provide very clear assurances that the threat of violence will not be utilised as a tool by Republicans to blackmail negotiators on Brexit."

The Democrat contacted Mr Hazzard, and made a request to speak to the MP about this issue. We received the following response from "a Sinn Fein spokesperson."

"The threat by the British government to impose Brexit against the democratically expressed wishes of the majority of people in the north has already led to a number of legal and peaceful protests on the border," said the spokesperson.

"The imposition of an economic border, which will impact negatively on the tens of thousands of people who cross the border daily, for work, for education and health care, for trade and family purposes will inevitably become a focal point for further peaceful protest."

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