Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party chief Jeffrey Donaldson on Thursday described the visit of a U.S. delegation led by Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., as the ''most undiplomatic visit I've ever seen to these shores,'' Politico reports.
"The language, if I may be diplomatic myself, it has been unhelpful, and it displays an alarming ignorance of the concerns of unionism, and I can assure you that our words today to the delegation were not manufactured, nor are the legitimate and genuine concerns that we represent and that are shared by all unionists," he told reporters at Stormont, the seat of Northern Ireland's government.
"We reminded the delegation that not a single unionist elected to this Assembly supports the protocol, that power-sharing only works on the basis of a cross-community consensus and that that consensus does not currently exist.
"What we need now are solutions. What we do not need are people telling us that we must fully implement a protocol that is harmful to Northern Ireland, and if it were fully implemented would present what I regard as an economic tsunami for this place."
Neal, who has devoted much of his political career to Irish issues, last week accused Britain of taking the 1998 Good Friday agreement for granted and urged lawmakers to ''find a solution'' to the standoff with the European Union over Northern Ireland.
He also called unionists ''planters'' and said their campaign against a protocol treaty that requires that the EU check on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K. was a ''manufactured'' crisis.
''I made the argument that this is a problem to be solved, not a crisis,'' Neal told reporters at Stormont. ''As we had that discussion back and forth, I thought we were able to ameliorate some of the differences.''
Northern Ireland's second-biggest political party two weeks ago blocked the formation of a working legislature in its capital, Belfast, and said it would keep up the boycott until the U.K. government tears up post-Brexit trade rules it accuses of destabilizing the region.
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