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UUP councillor ‘would not support any type of reference of an Irish unity group’

A Rangers football top wearing Newry councillor has failed to win a vote to dismiss an Irish unity proposal.

David Taylor (UUP) appeared via video link on the council’s strategy, policy and resources (SPR) committee on Thursday dressed in his favoured Glasgow football team’s colours.

The Slieve Gullion councillor called for a recorded vote to be taken on the motion to establish a working group to consult on uniting the island of Ireland.

He told the chamber: “You will not be surprised in regards to my objection to this.

“We have been in discussions over this a number of times.

“I am constitutionally opposed to it and feel that it is just not necessary to have a working group on it.”

The original motion for an Irish unity working group was brought forward by Cllr Barra Ó Muirí (SF) over a year ago.

Other councils in Derry and Strabane and Belfast have also initiated a process for talks on the reunification of the Ireland after 100 years of partition.

However, Cllr Taylor, the group leader of the UUP on Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has suggested that the Irish unity working group would not be a welcomed place for those in favour of maintaining the UK status quo.

He added: “It is said that the group would not be taking a constitutional position, but by doing this I would say that they are.

“I would not support any type of reference of an Irish unity group.

“At the moment it is said that no funding is being sought for the working group, but I would say that in time we will be sitting here and being asked for funding for it.

“I would ask that a recorded vote be taken, though I know that it will probably make no difference in the overall decision.”

A recorded vote on the proposal was taken with seven councillors for and three against.

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