Foster under fire over united Ireland ‘exit strategy’


Arlene Foster on Patrick Kielty’s documentary My Dad, the Peace Deal and Me

DUP LEADER Arlene Foster has faced ridicule and disbelief after revealing that she would ‘probably have to leave’ Northern Ireland if the majority of people wanted to join the Republic. 
The Fermanagh South Tyrone MLA stunned many with her comments to comedian Patrick Kielty in her BBC documentary ‘My Dad, the Peace Deal and Me’. 
During the programme, Mr Kielty asked the former First Minister how, in the event of a united Ireland, would she feel to be a unionist, outside of the UK?
She said: “First of all I don’t think it’s going to happen. It’s a very hypothetical situation to be in but if it were to happen, I’m not sure that I would be able to continue to live here. I would feel so strongly about it. I would probably have to move.”
When asked where she would go, she replied: “Well that’s the question. It’s not going to happen so I don’t have to worry about it I don’t think anytime soon.”
Ex-local SDLP MLA Richie McPhillips slammed Mrs Foster’s remarks, branding them “unbelievable” from a leader in our community. 
He added: “What Arlene Foster said is in essance no suprise because it seems practically every utterance can be a statement of alienation for some individual or group. How are we to move forward with this sort of attitude? 
“For the sake of all we must move with positive sentiments expressed by so many on the programme.”
Sinn Fein’s Sheamus Greene also criticised Mrs Foster for choosing to abandon her electorate, as he put it. 
He told the Herald: “My feeling would be that she is free to do whatever she wants. It is good for her that she can afford to up sticks and abandon her community on a whim. In a United Ireland everyone’s rights would be cherished equally including Arlene’s.”
Meanwhile some other unionists politicians have indicated they would not leave in the event of a united Ireland including former Fermanagh South Tyrone Westminster MP Tom Elliott. 
When asked if he would consider a similar move, the Ballinamallard man replied: “It’s not something that I have ever given any thought to. 
“My initial reaction would be no it’s my home and I would want to remain in my home. Obviously there would be massive changes and you would have to discuss and look at all of these things if it was imminent but it’s not imminent.”

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