Blair warns over ‘constant’ political disruption in NI

Published date17 March 2023
Publication titleIrish Times (Dublin, Ireland)
Northern Correspondent Former British prime minister Tony Blair has warned "constant" political disruption in Northern Ireland will create difficulties for its future within the United Kingdom

Regarded as one of the key architects of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, Mr Blair urged the DUP to restore stability by returning to Stormont and "make people comfortable with the status quo." "If people are comfortable with the status quo why change it?" he asked.

Giving evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster Yesterday, Mr Blair admitted he felt "anxious" about the North's long-term future within the UK 'union' amid the political deadlock and increasing pressure for a referendum on a united Ireland.

"I believe passionately that in the end the people of Northern Ireland will decide their own future," Mr Blair told MPs. "My preference is that Northern Ireland remains part of the Union. But it can only be that way, in my view, if people feel the status quo is something stable.

"I think the important thing is to get over this problem with the protocol, and if at all possible, to get back to reform the Executive and, over time, deal with these issues. But...

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