Protecting Union must be Government’s overriding responsibility – Lord Dodds

Safeguarding the Union post-Brexit must be the British Government’s “overriding responsibility above everything else”, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party has said.

Newly-appointed peer Lord Dodds of Duncairn issued the call as he made his maiden speech in the House of Lords.

Prior to joining the upper chamber, he served as MP for North Belfast for almost two decades before losing his seat to John Finucane of Sinn Fein at last year’s general election.

Speaking at Westminster, Lord Dodds said: “The Government has a solemn duty to deliver Brexit… but to do so in a way that safeguards the Union. That is its overriding responsibility above everything else.”

He added: “In our deliberations it is important to remember that the protection of the peace and political process in Northern Ireland is about recognising and defending unionist as well as nationalist concerns and interests.

“That’s something that at times I think seems to be missing in some of the debates, particularly around Brexit.”

Lord Dodds also stressed the need for compensation for injured victims of the Troubles.

The long-awaited scheme for those who were severely injured has been delayed by political rows.

The DUP peer said: “The many innocent victims of terrorism deserve to see justice still – proper compensation and an end to those who would glorify terrorism. It sadly still happens all too often in Northern Ireland.

“And continued attempts to make terrorists the equivalent of our gallant security forces. That must always be resisted.”

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