The anger from Unionists comes as checks on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from Britain are not just frustrating businesses and consumers but threaten the Union with the UK. Speaking to Channel 4 news, Jim Allister MLA, who leads Traditional Unionist Voice, a small unionist political party in Northern Ireland said: “Either we kill the protocol or it kills the union.”
He said how his party and the Democratic Unionist Party had become united on “the same plan and page of saving the union” following a U-turn by the DUP on their position on the protocol.
The DUP U-turned in their support for the Northern Ireland protocol after supporting Brexit.
The rising frustration comes as the DUP has begun to lose support following the Northern Ireland border row in which some voters have begun to switch their allegiance to the centrist non-sectarian Alliance Party.
The Alliance Party says no to the protocol and no to an Irish sea border.
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Speaking to Channel 4, Tim Cairns, a DUP special advisor from 2012-16 warned: “If the election campaign next year is ‘stop the NI Protocol’, ‘stop the advance of Sinn Fein’ people are going to be turned off by that.”
He added: “You’re going to see other parties putting forward a more positive campaign that I think people are going to get behind.”
One resident of Larne Port, a major focal point of the border row told Channel 4 news: “They (the DUP) don’t know how to make friends all they do is alienate people and you know if you keep alienating people nobody is going to care.”
Another resident said: “I think they need to watch their language, watch their tone.
“I think they need to just be careful and not to incite people.”
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It follows mounting anger amongst Unionists that the checks don’t just harm business but threaten the Union with the UK.
The border issues are firing up a Unionist sense of grievance and abandonment in Northern Ireland.
The crisis will be a talking point in next years Stormont elections where the DUP will face questions around their handling of the row.
The elections are due to take place on May 5, 2022.