This week my work has focused a lot on borders.


On Tuesday I worked with MPs from other parties to consider how Mutual Enforcement could help provide a long-term solution to remove the Irish Sea border.


Then on Wednesday I was giving evidence to a Westminster Committee where I was reminding MPs that nationalists would never have accepted the kind of border infrastructure between Monaghan and Aughnacloy that is envisaged between Larne and Cairnryan.


Finally on Thursday I travelled to Dublin where I was the guest speaker at a Corporation Ireland event where I reminded the audience that unionists don’t fear cooperation with our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland on matters of mutual interest.


Indeed, I urged them to lift their eyes beyond this current challenge and debate what the relationship should deliver over the next 25 years. When we get the NI Protocol replaced with arrangements that unionists can support, there needs to be joined up thinking across the British Isles on a range of economic issues.


Ultimately whether in Westminster, Belfast or Dublin my message was consistent.  Progress can only be made in Northern Ireland when there is consensus. Trying to foist a solution upon Northern Ireland without the support of unionists will never work. 


Indeed, for all the people in London, Dublin, Washington, and Brussels who have hailed 25 years of the Belfast Agreement and the Agreements flowing from it, the fundamental ingredient is and was moving forward together.


Therefore, the next 25 years will only lead to better and more prosperous times throughout these islands if there is respect North, South, East and West. Those with a British identity, those with an Irish identity and those somewhere in-between must be respected. The idea that one section will dominate the other or ride roughshod over the view of the other is not the path to peace or prosperity.


That means walking in each other’s shoes. I would never have asked the Government or Brussels to build border posts at the RoI / NI border. Of course, that’s where there already is a currency border, health service border, education border and taxation border but I have too much respect for my nationalist neighbours to ask them to start building border posts there.


Sadly, there wasn’t the same level of respect reciprocated towards unionists.


No nationalist with a scintilla of honesty can be surprised that unionists baulked at the idea of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.


Sadly, some viewed the NI Protocol through their border poll advancing spectacles rather than the 20:20 vision of what is best for peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson marks 107th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme

Each year the Party marks the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme at the memorial to the 36th Ulster Division within the grounds of the Stormont Estate

I didn’t come into politics or serve in Parliament for 25 years to just consign Northern Ireland to a cycle of instability.  I want Northern Ireland to work and prosper. For that to happen, getting a fair deal has to be at the centre of our politics. The Protocol wasn’t fair for unionists and it’s now time to reset the balance.


By restoring fairness and replacing poke in the eye politics with consensus, Northern Ireland will be able to move forward.


Finally, on Tuesday Parliament held its annual National Prayer Breakfast.  Dr Amy Orr-Ewing, honorary lecturer at the University of Aberdeen School of Divinity, spoke about the power of forgiveness and how there is a default setting inside each of us that naturally prefers peace to conflict. I couldn’t help but reflect on Northern Ireland and how our instinct to ‘get one over’ has held back so much potential from being realised. 


Getting one over the other side, is not my style of leadership.  I believe with all my heart in consensus, whether within unionism or in wider Northern Ireland politics. Unless the non-unionists around the table recognise the unfairness of expecting unionism to accept a border in the Irish Sea, then progress will always prove difficult.


Best wishes,

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP
DUP Leader

Speaking to DUP members and supporters in Londonderry this week, Deputy Leader Gavin Robinson said,

“The Treasury contribution to fund public services in Northern Ireland is going down rather than rising. As an example, in England up to 2025, spending will increase by 6% but only 3.6% in Northern Ireland. It is time the Treasury and the Northern Ireland Office recognised this.

Northern Ireland doesn’t benefit from economies of scale like Great Britain. To provide vital services, we need a disproportionately larger public sector, and for as long as we receive 3% of what England needs under the Barnett Formula, we won’t and don’t get enough.

Unless there is a total recalibration of how Northern Ireland is funded, the situation will only get worse. With or without an Executive, and with or without the Protocol, Barnett will only lead to our budgetary pressures getting worse. Indeed, public services in Northern Ireland will stall and get to an irretrievable point.

Whether in the North-west or elsewhere across Northern Ireland, for decades Northern Ireland’s infrastructure was in stagnation and as a result it needs mammoth investment which we cannot afford. The current projection will mean our infrastructure will stand still rather than modernise. But ultimately this will mean fewer houses, factories, opportunities, and public services.”

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