Northern Ireland news

Arlene Foster claims unionists being 'gaslighted' by US administration

Former first minister Arlene Foster. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

ARLENE Foster has accused the current US administration of gaining its understanding of the north from the "Ladybird book of Irish republicanism".

The former DUP leader said unionists are being "gaslighted" by President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi because the pair fail to acknowledge that a "majority of people in Northern Ireland are very content to be British".

Writing in her regular column for the Daily Express, Mrs Foster cast a critical eye on Washington's annual celebrations for Ireland's patron saint.

"Americans are tone deaf to anybody that is Northern Irish or heaven forbid British during St Patrick’s day," said the former first minister.

Mrs Foster recalled her own visit to Capitol Hill in 2016, when she planned to leave "before all the greenery really kicked in".

"I had been meeting businesses and inward investors, but was persuaded by officials to stay and listen to then-President Obama’s speech as he wanted to recognise me as the first female first minister in Northern Ireland," the column states.

"Against my better judgement I did and as it was 2016, I was treated to a speech about how wonderful, the Declaration of Independence was from 1916 when Irish rebels rose up against the British state and cherished, we were told, 'all of the people of Ireland' – all of course unless you are British."

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Picture by AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

According to the former DUP leader, under President Biden, the "understanding and nuance of what happens in Northern Ireland has been pushed back decades".

"In the US administration of today, there is zero recognition of the fact that a majority of people in Northern Ireland are very content to be British and value the union of the United Kingdom – what we don’t value is being insulted by people who get their understanding of NI straight from the ladybird book of Irish republicanism," she said.

"Unionists, British citizens who live in Northern Ireland, are being gaslighted by Biden, Pelosi and others – it is as if to them we don’t exist."

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