McCann meets…..Michael Copeland MLA

Last week, I sat down with East Belfast UUP MLA, Michael Copeland. We talked about his entry into politics, the flags protests and the performance of the PSNI.

I want to apologise first for the audio but here are some quotes that I thought were interesting

On the Executive’s performance in tackling underachievement;

Thus far in my view they’ve failed and they will quote figures of many millions of pounds invested in things like the Skainos project. To the average person living in despair it doesn’t address the issues….it seems to a vast number of what I would term traditional DUP supporters that the DUP said no, no, no and never, never, never, until god spoke to Paisley and told him to do something that was infinitely worse than that which he had criticised and politically destroyed other people for.

On the flags unrest;

It has seriously challenged the relationship between the police and a section of society and it’s not a section that can be labelled as feckless, wasters, unemployed, unemployable or thugs. Some of them may well attract some of those labels but the substantial numbers of people involved in those affairs are ordinary people, many of whom were or are employed.

On the PSNI’s response to the anti-internment parade;

I did accompany my wife and daughter to a…anti-parading demonstration in Royal Ave. The policing operation of that was in my view flawed. It seemed to be that the police operation was aimed at getting a nationalist or republican parade along Royal Ave…at all costs. We were confined and the way in which it was portrayed in the press was two entirely different things…The policing operation in my view was not best handled. I remember seeing footage of a police officer telling some people who were talking to him that they would do what he because he was the law. With the greatest respect to him, he is an upholder of the law, he is not the law, he is not above the law nor, does he make the law.

Audio available here;

Michael Copeland interview by Ontherecord98fm on Mixcloud

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs