Nipsa pro-Brexit motion ‘reflects members' wishes'

A vote in support of Brexit reflects the views of Nipsa's members, says Patrick Mulholland

THE Nipsa general council member who proposed a motion in support of Brexit believes it reflects the sentiments of the union's rank and file.

On Friday delegates from the north's largest union voted to back the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

The final motion of the party's annual conference was proposed by Patrick Mulholland, a Socialist Party activist who was defeated by Alison Millar in last year's election for Nipsa general secretary.

Mr Mulholland is openly critical of the union's leadership, who in the wake of the conference vote have refused to comment on the implications of the pro-Brexit resolution.

The motion was passed by 68 to 58 with five abstentions.

Speaking to The Irish News, Mr Mulholland said he was keen to distance himself and fellow supporters of a Brexit from the Vote Leave campaign, who he said based their campaign on "anti-immigration rhetoric and jingoism".

He said he was "happy and comfortable" with the outcome, which flies in the face of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions umbrella body's stance on the EU referendum.

Mr Mulholland said Friday's vote came after an extensive debate and that he believed the resolution reflected the wishes of the majority of Nipsa members.

"I think it is representative of Nipsa members, and probably the thing that is decisive for the members is the danger to public services that the European Union poses, particularly around the area of TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), which is there to privatise and marketise public services," he said.

"I am aware that Nipsa's decision has left many within the trade union movement at sixes and sevens but we are entirely happy with it."

The general council member said he was hopeful the resolution would now be implemented.

However, it would appear some senior Nipsa officials are embarrassed by the outcome. Ms Millar has refused to comment, while assistant general secretary Bumper Graham simply said the union's incoming executive would consider how to take the terms of the resolution forward.

Mr Graham was unable to say if the executive would meet before the June 23 referendum.

At the weekend SDLP leader Colum Eastwood ?took to social media to register his surprise at the delegates' vote .

"Shocked that Nipsa are prepared to risk workers' rights and trust the Tories to protect them – completely out of touch," he said on Twitter.

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