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Hyperbolic rhetoric offers nothing but divisions, says Blair

“Hyperbolic rhetoric” from Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson will do nothing but divide our society further, Alliance MLA John Blair has said.

Mr Blair was speaking after Ms Anderson’s speech at a hunger strike commemoration rally in Strabane, in which she said the UK Government’s “days were numbered in Ireland,” “you will not be closing our roads…blocking our bridges…reinforcing partition,” before ending with “tiocfaidh ar la”.

“These are deeply unhelpful comments from Martina Anderson that will do nothing but divide our society further,” he said.

“For anyone in our society who identifies as British and who is told by Sinn Féin they will be welcome in a united Ireland, this speech will be seen as nothing but offensive and hyperbolic rhetoric. For others, they will see this as inflammatory language which will not help the talks to restore the Assembly.

“People have a right to remember their dead respectfully but this was not that. This will have done nothing to move our community forward or heal the hurt felt by so many across all sections of our society.

“Martina Anderson needs to show more respect and display leadership, stepping away from verbal outbursts designed to aid confrontation and recall years of conflict. She should apologise and recognise the hurt her comments will have caused.”