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Teenagers question Theresa May over DUP deal

Teenagers question Theresa May over DUP deal

By Aoife Moore, Press Association

Prime Minster Theresa May defended her confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP after being questioned by teenagers in Belfast.

Mrs May was greeted at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast on Friday morning by around a 100 protesters before heading inside to meet youngsters from the Belfast Youth Forum.

Over breakfast, one teenage boy brought up the arrangement between the DUP and the Tories.

He told Mrs May: “I think your coalition with the DUP infringes people’s rights here.”

Mrs May replied: “In the UK government, we work for and represent all communities. What we’ve put forward in terms of Brexit is something that works for all communities in Northern Ireland.”

Another teenager replied: “But the DUP aren’t, the DUP aren’t working for all communities. You getting into bed with the DUP has a detrimental effect on us.”

Mrs May noted that the issues the young people raised were devolved, but was reminded by the group that Northern Ireland has not had its own assembly in 18 months.

The protest outside the centre was made up of people from different groups fighting for what they called state injustices.

Child abuse victims, families of those killed during the Northern Ireland conflict and LGBT rights campaigners gathered with placards and signs to protest against Mrs May’s trip.

Seamus Finucane, brother of murdered human rights solicitor Pat Finucane, said: “I’ve probably been campaigning for truth and justice for longer than Theresa May has had a career in politics.

“We are here today to call we for a full implementation of the Stormont House agreement and all its mechanisms, to allow closure for all the families who have suffered through the conflict, for all victims.

“All the campaigners are here in solidarity with each other as victims of state violence. We will continue to bring our case to the British government until we get truth and justice.”

Sinn Fein had a number of its representatives at the protest, including Senator Niall O Donnghaile, who said: “There’s a broad range of groups here and that represents the broad range of issues outstanding in our society, and the broad range of commitments made by the British government that still remain unfulfilled.

“That ranges from an Irish Language Act, legacy issues, women’s reproductive health, marriage equality, they’re all represented here.

“We hope Theresa May gets the message when she’s here that everything isn’t rosy in the garden, and this isn’t some kind of DUP, Brexit fantasy land.

“People here are incredibly concerned about societal issues and Brexit.”

Mrs May left the centre to shouts of “redress now!” before travelling to the Waterfront Hall to give a speech on Brexit.

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