Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Former UUP leader joins Brexit debate in Crossmaglen

The former leader of the Ulster Unionist party, Mike Nesbitt, was in Crossmaglen on Thursday as an invited guest to the public debate on Brexit, hosted by the Newry Armagh Community Restorative Justice (CRJ).

Mr Nesbitt, the UUP MLA for Strangford, was joined on the platform panel by Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson and John Sheridan, from Border Communities Against Brexit (BCAB).

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty attended the event and says he was delighted to welcome Mr Nesbitt to Crossmaglen and praised his input.

He said: “He’s a man with a reputation of calling it as he sees it and for saying what others won’t.  His message on Thursday night was simple, those who oppose Theresa May’s [Brexit] deal are wrong – their approach is driven by a crazy ideology and is nonsensical.  The DUP have called this wrong. The farming industry, the business sector and trade unions have opposed their approach and have called for them to back the current Brexit deal. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than a crash out no deal Brexit which will have severe consequences for this region and this island.”

Mr McNulty criticized both DUP and Sinn Fein MPs for their very different approach to the British government’s handling of Brexit.

“Brexit is the greatest economic, political and social threat to this island since partition. Mike [Nesbitt] is an Ulster Unionist and I am an Irish Nationalist; however, we both firmly agree the current approach adopted by seventeen of the North’s MPs is folly.  Ten DUP MPs are seeking a hard Brexit no matter what way they dress it up. Whereas seven Sinn Féin MPs have decided to sit it out, and shout into the Westminster Chamber from the comfort of their offices in the very same building,” he said.