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  • Writer's pictureFriends of Sinn Féin USA

Jeffrey Donaldson - The Soft Voice of Hard Line Unionism

Jeffery Donaldson Addresses An Orange Order Rally

Jeffrey Donaldson is the new leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. The DUP is the largest Unionist Party and supports the continued partition of Ireland.

He was unopposed in his bid to be leader after the shock resignation of Edwin Poots. Mr. Poots had led the party for only 21 days after beating Mr. Donaldson in a leadership competition. But was subsequently forced to resign.

Jeffrey Donaldson is the soft voice of hard-line unionism. A member of the Orange Order and a former member of the Ulster Defence Regiment. The regiment that had to be stood down was notorious within Irish Nationalist and Republican communities.

Mr. Donaldson is also a former member of the Ulster Unionist Party. He walked out of the Good Friday Agreement talks, opposed the agreement, and subsequently resigned the party to join the DUP in 2004.

He has held many elected positions and was an MLA in the Assembly and Junior Minister in the Government of the North. He gave up his Assembly position to remain as an MP in Westminster.

Jeffery Donaldson signs a deal with the British Tory Party

that would lead to the current chaos of Brexit

In Westminster, he was a supporter of Brexit and signed the deal between the DUP to support the Tory Government of Theresa May. The DUP supported the hardest of Brexit and the election of Boris Johnson. When the Tory Party no longer required the support of the DUP their deal was binned.

He currently serves as the MP for Lagan Valley but has indicated that he wants to return to the Assembly and take on the role of joint head of Government in the North. A role shared with Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Féin.

The unionism that Mr. Donaldson leads is no longer a majority in the Assembly or Executive.

While the leadership of the DUP has changed the challenges remain, can unionism share power as equals, will agreements made be honored, and will the party continue their links with unionist paramilitary groups that are intent on bringing down the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement?

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