David Ford has called David Trimble’s speech to his party on Saturday ‘both pathetic and damaging’.

Mr Ford is visiting Washington DC for a series of meetings with government agencies and think tanks in the run up to St Patrick’s day.

He said: “Saturday’s comments by the UUP leader were received with incredulity in Washington.”

“Those who follow Irish affairs cannot understand why he made the speech. Whatever allowance is made for enthusing his party at its AGM, his comments on the state of the Republic have been widely reported in the US and have caused great offence. Nobody who has any knowledge of the modern Republic, for all its faults, can recognise his description.”

“Equally worrying is the resurrection of the proposed border poll on Assembly election day next year. It is clear that there is no justification for such a poll, since there is no chance whatsoever of a majority for change.”

“For a leader supposedly committed to an Agreement which depends on power sharing and partnership to suggest that it would be a good idea to introduce the most divisive issue possible – the border – is nonsense and damaging nonsense.”


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