Northern Ireland news

Doug Beattie praises Claire Hanna over church service remarks

SDLP MP Claire Hanna

ULSTER Unionist leader Doug Beattie has praised the SDLP's Claire Hanna over her remarks about the interdenominational centenary church service.

Ms Hanna's party has faced criticism from republicans over leader Colum Eastwood's attendance at the event.

On BBC's The View, the South Belfast MP was asked if her party's decision to attend would make unionists more receptive to Irish unity.

She said the party participation in the service had demonstrated its "sincerity".

"We appreciate that this isn't about us – we are the wooers in this scenario, we are the ones that are trying to persuade people that their tradition, history and values... we're not saying that they have to just disappear in a puff of smoke in a new Ireland," Ms Hanna said.

Her remarks and tone were praised by Mr Beattie.

On Twitter, he posted that he thought the SDLP MP "spoke incredibly well".

"Our views differ but she showed genuine respect," the former British soldier said.

"We can all be entrenched in our views, held back by the past, but respect of difference will allow us to move forward….. if we truly want to."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news