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Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland

SDLP Brexit spokesperson Matthew O’Toole today slammed the DUP for their refusal to apologise in the Assembly chamber for the looming chaos of Brexit, which will damage economic prospects and costs in Northern Ireland, and far beyond.

In the Assembly chamber earlier, O’Toole offered DUP Economy Minister Diane Dodds the opportunity to express regret and apologise for the disruption that businesses and society will face – deal or no deal – but the minister and former MEP refused to do so. She also failed to offer any further detail on Executive plans to protect businesses from the effects of the hard Brexit the DUP helped deliver.

This comes a day after First Minister Arlene Foster and other DUP MLAs repeatedly deflected their own responsibility for Brexit and its consequences in Assembly debates.

O’Toole pointed that not only did the DUP become a registered party in the 2016 referendum debate and accept the largest ever donation in local political history for a campaign ad no one in Northern Ireland could read, the party held unique power to shape Brexit between 2017 and 2019.

But rather than use that power to soften Brexit for the whole UK, which would have been better for all workers and minimised the risk of an Irish land border – and therefore the need for an Irish sea border – the DUP repeatedly and unrepentantly doubled down on their flirtation with hard Brexiteers, talking up no deal, refusing to compromise and helping amplify the prime ministerial ambitions of Boris Johnson.

Matthew O’Toole MLA said:

“The DUP have neither shame nor self-awareness. They lament the effects of Brexit – including the Ireland Protocol – but refuse to acknowledge their own culpability. They deflect angrily onto others but with days and hours until the enormous disruption of Brexit, they lack the decency or humility to admit responsibility for what they have visited upon businesses and workers, not just in Northern Ireland, but across the UK which they claim to hold so dear. After 2017, the DUP had the power to make things better – instead they chose repeatedly to make things worse.

“Since the referendum 2016, there have been three British Prime Ministers, three Taoiseachs, two Presidents of the European Commission, two Presidents of the European Council – but Arlene Foster is in the same job, despite helping to author the biggest messes in recent European diplomatic history. As with RHI, they are neither accountable nor responsible.

“Diane Dodds’ refusal to apologise, Arlene Foster’s angry rejection of responsibility underlines that the DUP – like the Bourbons – have forgotten nothing but learned nothing.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom