Be careful what you wish for, Paisley Jr warns those wishing to change agreement

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“Be careful what you wish for” was the message from DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr to those who wish to alter the Good Friday Agreement.

He was speaking during the Agreement 25 conference at Queen’s University Belfast.

Changes that have been proposed to Good Friday Agreement institutions include altering the community designation system at Stormont that would diminish parties’ veto power.

Vetoes have been used by both Sinn Fein and the DUP to take down the Stormont Assembly.

“If people want to change an agreement, which we’re being told is a totem, that’s up to people to seek those changes but I would just say, very clearly, be careful what we wish for in this because when you open up one side of it to satisfy some grievance on one side, you automatically start unravelling on another,” Mr Paisley said.

He added: “Be very careful what we wish for because you might end up into another negotiation process which could last a very, very long period of time, whenever maybe resolving the problems around the protocol and Windsor and those issues should be where the focus is placed and get that fixed first.”

He was speaking on a panel with Dawn Purvis, former leader of the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), John Alderdice, former leader of the Alliance Party, and Gary McMichael former leader of the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP).

Ms Purvis said that decreasing the number of MLAs in the Stormont Assembly was a mistake, with which Mr Paisley agreed.

He said cutting the number of MLAs at Stormont from 108 to 90 was “wrong”.

“I think it was wrong to have cut it from 108 members when it was that, I was in that Assembly for that first period of time when we had those members and it did add dynamic to the process and that is important,” he said.

He added: “We’re not utopia, we’re Ulster.

“We’re a divided community, we’re different and that difference should be our unique selling point. At the moment it’s our unique stumbling point.”

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