The First Minister has tried to regain control of the runaway train that is Unionism this evening by issuing a statment. Following calls from some of the leaders of the flag protestors calling for a return to direct rule the words of Peter Robinson, clearly speaking as leader of the DUP and not as First Minister, are trying to put fear into those with such feelings. However, his last paragraph highlights his failure to lead:
“Let them explain to the people the benefit of Water Charging and higher Regional Rates which would automatically follow Direct Rule. And are they content to have Westminster impose same sex marriages and abortion on demand on our community? Such folly. Have they so quickly forgotten the decisions of direct rule in the past?”
LGBT+ Lib Dems NI Coordinator Stephen Glenn said this evening:
“At a time when tensions are still high and threats against elected representatives have not been lifted this is not the time to bring more people into the focus of anger of some of those who are protesting. By highlighting issues such as a women’s right to choose and a LGBT equality issue in such a provocatively worded statement Peter Robinson is not acting as First Minister but as a fear monger. He is fighting fire and the threat to his own authority and leadership of the Unionist community with lighter fluid. This is not the act of a leader.”
The LGBT community in Northern Ireland face enough difficulties without being seen and promoted as something that is not Northern Irish, or non-Unionist in this way from the person who happens to also be the First Minister. Using a cross community issue like equal marriage as a tool in this way is malicious and though not as direct an incitement as made by his wife in recent years is not a helpful statement to be made in the current climate.
LGBT Lib Dems will be calling on Peter Robinson to apologise and recant his use of LGBT issues in this debate, or is that debacle.