Enough is enough! Brexit fury erupts as protests take to streets – Truss under pressure

Sammy Wilson: EU used and abused Northern Ireland

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In Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, on Friday, unionist and loyalist protesters took to the streets to demand the UK Government take action and overturn the Northern Ireland Protocol. Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, DUP leader, and Unionist activist Jamie Bryson both skewered the hated Brexit deal. Earlier in March, the Foreign Secretary was reported to be frustrated at the current progress being made in talks over the Protocol.

A source said Ms Truss wanted to force a settlement before elections for the Northern Ireland Assembly in May.

Meanwhile, posting on Twitter, Mr Bryson claimed “thousands are on the streets in Ballymoney standing against the Union-subjugating Protocol & Belfast Agreement”.

In a speech, he urged Stormont to “take a lesson from 1912, loyalty goes both ways”.

He said: “This Protocol will never be allowed to embed or co-exist with political and societal stability.

“Listen carefully- the principles set out in the Ulster Covenant- all of them- remain as valid today as they did then. There is nothing we will not do to defend for ourselves and our children, our homeland, built upon the blood, sweat and tears of our forefathers.

“No self-respecting unionist or playlist is in any mood to lower the temperature. Quite the reverse, it is time to politically fire it up.”

Sir Jeffrey, joined by Baroness Hoey and Ben Habib, thanked the pair for driving forward legal action against the protocol, which is set to be taken to the UK’s Supreme Court.

He said: “I stand before you this evening as a unionist and all that I want for all of our people is to have that liberty for everyone because that’s what we stand for.

“In this protocol we have something that has denied the right of the people and undermines the right of the people in this part of the United Kingdom.

“Our democratic rights have been eroded and undermined by this protocol and that is wrong, and that is why tonight we are standing together to say very clearly that this is not acceptable and we will not put up with the subjugation of our rights as citizens of the United Kingdom.

“I am very clear that we must stand together and we must be united … let the message that goes out from Ballymoney be one of unity in opposition to the protocol and not one of disunity which is what our enemies want.”

Mr Bryson also told the Irish Government “keep your covetous nose out of the internal affairs of our country”.

He added: “You are neither wanted nor welcome in this sovereign British territory.

“This isn’t your country, and it’s about time you realised that.”

Mr Bryson also dubbed Irish minister Simon Coveney a “meddling aggressor”, saying the Dublin government “swans around Northern Ireland as if they own the place.”

Nichola Mallon, North Belfast MLA, SDLP Deputy Leader & Minister for Infrastructure, called Mr Bryson’s comments ‘incitement”.

She added: “How about this Jamie Bryson – find the courage to stand for election.

“Let the people decide on whether they want your poisonous politics or not.”

Mr Bryson fired back: “Your party threatened ‘civil disobedience…at a minimum’ to get your own way over Brexit.

“Keep your fluffy words; the ‘process’ is over. After 24 years, unionism has said enough is enough.”

It comes after Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney was the target of a hoax bombing in north Belfast earlier today.

Police believe the UVF is behind a security alert that led to Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney being evacuated from a peace event in Belfast.

Mr Coveney was delivering a speech when he was ushered from the room following reports a van had been hijacked and driven to the venue on Friday.

A controlled explosion was carried out at the scene, and it was later declared a hoax.

Secretary of State Brandon Lewis and Justice Minister Naomi Long led condemnation of the incident.

Sources told the Belfast Telegraph it was designed to send a “strong message” to the Irish Government over the Brexit protocol.

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