Arlene Foster;Unionism stands for pluralism and multi-culturism. We are inclusive and welcome all.

Some of the DUP Leader, Arlene Foster’s remarks in London today;

And as a unionist I see no logic or rationale for a hard border being created between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Indeed we do not want to see that at all.

The only people stirring up myths of border checkpoints are those who are committed to unpicking the Union. They seek to use such imagery to advance and build support for their long-term political objective. They will not succeed.

Some have sought to use the UK exit from the EU as a means to foment division in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is transformed, and while we should never be complacent that prevailing feeling of constantly being under siege is no longer the case.

Unionism is at its best when it is confident, outward looking and welcoming. We must move forward with confidence.

Citizenship and rights are essentially unionist issues. They are issues we should set out to reclaim. Nationalism is by its nature narrow and exclusive. Being a Unionist is the opposite. Unionism stands for pluralism and multi-culturism. We are inclusive and welcome all.

Confident unionism can capture the diversity that nationalism cannot. It transcends nationalism, and allows individuals to express the cultural values or identity they wish.

The surest way to cement the Union is for Northern Ireland to be open and provide a successful environment in which to live and work. A Northern Ireland which embraces differing cultures and where minorities feel valued – is one that few will choose to abandon.

I want to be a leader who reaches out to promote the value – AND the values – of the Union.

 

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