Northern Ireland

DUP founding member says ‘New Ireland’ is now inevitable

DUP founding member Wallace Thompson. Picture by Paul Faith/PA Wire
DUP founding member Wallace Thompson. Picture by Paul Faith/PA Wire

A founding member of the DUP has said he believes that a 'New Ireland is now inevitable".

Wallace Thompson, a former special adviser and evangelical Protestant, also says unionism was "always in many ways doomed because of Ireland’s nature".

The veteran unionist says he is prepared to hold discussions with those planning Irish unity in a bid to try to make it a more appealing idea to unionists.

It is not the first time that Mr Thompson has spoken about his thoughts on a possible united Ireland.

Earlier this year, he said it should be debated "openly and honestly" adding that given changing religious demographics he would be open to conversations about unity.

 Mr Wallace said: “I think we are in an inevitable move towards that — when it comes, I don’t know, but there’s an inevitability in my mind that we are moving towards some form of new Ireland.

"Hopefully, new and not absorption… but we need to ask the questions and we need to ask for answers and we need to talk to people," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“That shouldn’t mean then you’re thinking that we’re suddenly going down that road.

"We might not. We might decide (based on) all the evidence that we don’t want to go down that road.

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“But we’re closing our eyes and pretending there’s no problem. This is the problem with unionism — we’re in denial; constant denial.

“To talk to these groups that are calling for a new Ireland to me is not an indication of weakness; it’s an indication of strength.”

Mr Wallace, who worked as a special adviser to Nigel Dodds, also has said he believes "fundamental issues" connected to unionism need to be addressed.

"Unionism as a philosophy probably was always in many ways doomed because of Ireland’s nature, the fact that the north was carved off from the south… now you’ve got a position where, do you partition again," he asked.

“Do you accept that demographic change is such that we have to run to the walls and again shut the gates?

"Or do we recognise that we can’t keep doing this?

“We need to recognise that there are fundamental issues that have always been there really — from centuries ago — that we need to now recognise and try to address.”

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