Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has been urged by former DUP leader Arlene Foster to apologise for making certain remarks while discussing the Northern Ireland Protocol, referring to parts of Belfast as “ghettos”.
He made the comments on the subject of loyalists who were opposed to the Protocol, saying that they “haven’t a clue” about how it works while speaking at an event hosted by Dublin City University’s Brexit Institute yesterday.
He stated, “I spend a lot of my life still in the North. The reality is in East Belfast and in the ghettos and in the areas where you’re likely to get trouble, is that people haven’t got a clue about the protocol, not a clue”.
“They see it as a road to the Dublin Government taking over again and this is a pathway to that”.
Ahern criticised loyalist opposition, stating that the idea of trade “just passes them by.”
Responding to the comments, Foster stated, “He needs to reflect on his words and apologise. Calling areas in Belfast ‘ghettos’ is not a good look”.
As well as Foster, DUP MP for East Belfast Gavin Robinson has also called on Ahern to apologise for his remarks, stating, “To associate East Belfast with a ghetto and suggest loyalists are not able to understand the protocol is demeaning and degrading”.
IMAGE – Culturaldiplomacy/”Arlene Foster, Minister of Enterprise Trade and Investment, Northern Ireland, 2013 Horasis Global India Business Meeting” by Horasis is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0