Ex-UUP councillor and army officer signs up to republican party…

THE Irish News reports it “likely” that businessman Harvey Bicker is the first ever unionist to join a republican party, after the former Ulster Unionist councillor from Down District confirmed to RTE that he had joined Fianna Fail. (Of course, serial defector Lord Ballyedmond has already been associated with both parties, before joining the UK’s Conservatives – perhaps businessmen’s first loyalty is to who is seen to be best for business.) A former military man, RTE reported that Bicker ‘said he felt the climate was now right to join Fianna Fáil as he was now spending a lot of time in the Republic influencing and networking on issues of reconciliation and military heritage. He said it was time for him to move into that environment and hopefully to represent the views of his community to people in that party.’ As FF begins to organise on an all-Ireland basis, the republican party seems to have found an ex-British Army soldier it can do business with. Will the move attract others? ElBlogador wonders if unionists are starting to recognise the benefits of a united Ireland.