Alliance Party’s Hong Kong-born Anna Lo says time has come for a united Ireland and that the sky won’t fall in if it happens
The Hong Kong-born former member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Anna Lo, said she would back a united Ireland in any future border vote.
Ms Lo, who represented Belfast South, compared the situation to those in Germany and Vietnam – both countries which were separate, and then one.
“If there was a referendum, I would vote for a united Ireland under the right conditions. Ireland is one island. I don’t think we should have a border to divide an island,” she told The Belfast Telegraph. “I would like to see Ireland united, and I think it is inevitable. I take a wider world view on the issue. I am against colonialism. I welcomed Hong Kong being returned to China in 1997. When both Germany and Vietnam were united, despite all the foreboding, the sky didn’t fall down.”
The Alliance Party President first voiced this opinion in 2014 and she has faced criticism from loyalist figures in the past. In the frank interview she accused the DUP of being racist, calling it “the most racist party in Northern Ireland”. She added that she believes racism in the six counties is rife; that it is worse than when she first arrived in 1974.
Ms Lo – the first ethnic- minority politician elected at a regional level in Northern Ireland and the first politician born in East Asia elected to any legislative body in the UK – has been the target of racial abuse in the past and cited as a reason for not standing for re-election. She describes herself as a “socialist and a republican in the international sense” and, despite having received an MBE from the Queen in 2000, says she is not a supporter of the royal family.
“I don’t believe in the monarchy or in inherited wealth, privilege and position. But when I met the Queen I was respectful because she is the head of State,” she said.
She explained how this sense of respect extended to the late Rev Ian Paisley, in spite of his political beliefs. Recalling a story in which he spoke to her as “a young secretary of no importance”, telling her of his dieting successes, she remembered him as warm and friendly. Her feelings towards other high-ranking DUP ministers such as Arlene Foster and Peter Robinson were less complimentary.
She criticised Ms Foster for her views on abortion in cases of foetal abnormality and explained how she was “livid” when Mr Robinson defended Pastor James McConnell after he made controversial remarks about Islam.