Ex-DUP MP: Arlene Foster has undermined the Union and NI is in a dangerous place – but a united Ireland could work
Sammy Douglas, who was close to former Prime Minister Peter Robinson, made the comments in an interview ahead of Ms Foster’s toppling as DUP leader a month ago.
The former MP for East Belfast was interviewed by journalist Susan McKay for her new book, ‘Northern Protestants on Shifting Ground’.
Mr Douglas, who remains a member of the DUP, also suggested that a united Ireland would not be as bad as the instability that preceded this outcome.
Tonight, the ruling DUP executive will meet to officially ratify Edwin Poots as Ms Foster’s successor.
Mr Douglas, who retired as a Member of Parliament just before the 2017 Assembly election, pointed to Ms Foster’s famous remark about the ‘crocodile’ in this campaign in which she referred to Sinn’s request Féin for an act in Irish language saying: come back and look for more ”.
Mr Douglas said: “A woman I know of nationalist descent – she’s a civil servant – told me shortly after the crocodile’s remark: ‘You know my politics, Sammy. I’ve never been a supporter of republicanism, but see when I heard I just thought ‘f ** k the DUP’. “
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He continued, “I know people who wouldn’t have been outside waving a Union Jack, but they were happy enough to try and make this place work – they got more aggressive.”
“I think we are in a very dangerous place. My fear is that this could all fall apart tomorrow. If it is in the interests of the parties, they will walk away from it.
“The loyalist paramilitaries said their war was over because they believed the Union was safe. The thing is now, there is the potential breakup of the Union. “
The former East Belfast MP’s comments are significant as they reinforce how Ms Foster had not only lost the support of the old school traditionalists of the DUP, but also many members of the modernizing wing of the party .
Mr Douglas said he agreed with Mr Robinson that ‘when you take out insurance on your home it is not because you think it will burn down, but to protect you from the future. .
“Unionism needs to sit down and come together and have a discussion about where we are going from here.
“I know a lot of people fear a united Ireland. But it’s a bit like death. Most people are not afraid of being dead, they are afraid of the dying process.
“Irish unity would not be as bad as the process of securing Irish unity. You could in fact probably live quite peacefully in a united Ireland; it’s just that the ten years of becoming a united Ireland would probably be pretty horrible.
Mr Douglas said he was still a member of the DUP – although he was not part of the party at the time of the 1998 Belfast accord and said that unlike the DUP he voted for it, ” and to be honest, one of the reasons was the prisoners. go out”.
The former MP then presented an unusually explicit summary of how public money is given to the paramilitaries in return for “peace”, but said it crumbles as the paramilitaries lose control.
He said: “One of the biggest successes was that the paramilitary groups were funded and they kept the peace at the interfaces.
“The flag demonstration brought a group of young people, people you couldn’t control.
“There is a lack of leadership in loyalty now and the danger I see is a charismatic figure that comes to the fore: a Johnny Adair from his world, or a Billy Wright, who can attract that sense of loyalty.
Mr Douglas said he remembered a meeting of the DUP Assembly group where they discussed same-sex marriage and told them: ‘I have a daughter, and I love her in pieces, and she is gay … i would prefer her to be straight. And you know why? Because we live in a homophobic society ”. And there was silence.
Mr Douglas’s interview is one of nearly 100 in the book that range from ultra-conservative Christians to a suspected paramilitary leader, politicians and a drag queen.
Former DUP spad Tim Cairns said he was not impressed with Ms Foster and said Mr Robinson wanted her to succeed him because she was’ anyone but Sammy Wilson “.
Former PUP leader Dawn Purvis said: “As far as I am concerned, for Northern Ireland to be safe and prosperous, trade unionism has to go away, as has nationalism”.
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