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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 23 January, 2020

Former NI minister says Donegal would be better off in the United Kingdom

The former deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist Party said Donegal “really is the hinterland of Northern Ireland”.

Image: Ian Nicholson via PA Images

A LORD AND a former Northern Ireland Cabinet minister has said that he was “certain” that Donegal would fare better if it were part of the United Kingdom.

“Oh I’m certain it would because it would benefit from the block rent from London that we already enjoy in Northern Ireland, £10 billion a year we get,” Lord Kilclooney told Ocean FM.

The former deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist Party said that Dublin’s government “ignores Donegal”.

“The history of Donegal since 1921 is desperate. Donegal is a beautiful county and I have often visited it. In fact I nearly got drowned once in Rossnowlagh, believe it or not.

“But I’ve seen the population in Donegal dwindle since 1921 - it’s down nearly only half of what it was at the time of partition. Many of the people of Donegal have moved back into the United Kingdom, into the northwest or into Glasgow.”
It really is the hinterland of Northern Ireland and it would be great to have it back in with us.

Raised in Armagh, Lord Kilclooney, or John David Taylor, was a Minister of State at the Ministry of Home Affairs from 1965 – 1972, an MEP for Northern Ireland for over 10 years.

In 1972 he was the target of an assassination attempt by the Official Irish Republican Army. He was hit by five bullets, once in the head, but survived the attack. He returned to politics following his recovery and reconstructive surgery.

Earlier this year he came under fire for a tweet in which he said that unionists and nationals weren’t equals. He later clarified his comments to say that they weren’t politically equal, but they were equal on an individual level.

“…When it comes to equality that is a different issue, in political terms, in democratic terms, the pro-united Ireland vote is not equal to the pro-United Kingdom vote.

In the last Stormont election, 44% voted for a united Ireland, 56% did not. It is not equality in political terms, but certainly we are equal in individual terms.

In July 2001 he became Baron Kilclooney of Armagh.

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