Northern Ireland news

Jeffrey Donaldson warned over threat to collapse Stormont institutions

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

SIR Jeffrey Donaldson was last night warned about the consequences of collapsing the institutions in the midst of a pandemic.

Today marks 100 days since the DUP leader first issued an ultimatum to the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

While it was understood that Sir Jeffrey wanted his demands met by November 1, he has yet make good on his ultimatum.

He has also repeated the same threat on a number of occasions since – only this week warning Brussels that "the time for talking was over".

The Lagan Valley MP has been criticised by political opponents of all shades, some who believe it would be ill-advised to walk away from Stormont, others who urge him to crash the institutions.

The DUP last night declined to comment on what it planned to do in the face of further mitigations on Irish Sea border checks.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood told The Irish News that rather than "desperately threatening to tear the place down again" the DUP leader should be "working with other political leaders to build our communities up".

"There is no problem we face, whether it's the crisis in our health service, the Omicron variant, the downturn in trade or the threat of Brexit, that is solved by tearing down the government," the Foyle MP said.

"Jeffrey Donaldson knows that it will make things worse for every community and every business in the north."

Alliance Brexit spokesperson Sorcha Eastwood accused the DUP "prioritising collapse of the institutions" against a backdrop of a growing Covid crisis and energy price hikes.

"This fire and brimstone is not leadership but rather a message from them the important legislation the assembly still has to pass and scrutinise doesn't matter, rather what is more important is the DUP getting their way, despite this being the result of what they pushed for the past five years," she said.

But TUV leader Jim Allister said Sir Jeffrey's "repeated threats" needed to be "followed by action".

"Mr Donaldson's deadline of the end of October came and went, sending entirely the wrong message both to London and the EU," he said.

“Unless and until the EU is prepared to give up its ill-gotten sovereignty over Northern Ireland, there can be no acceptable settlement."

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