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Friday, 23 June, 2000, 05:34 GMT 06:34 UK
'No' man put out of UUP meeting
David Trimble
David Trimble at the inaugural meeting of Reunion
An anti-agreement Ulster Unionist has been ordered out of the inaugural meeting of a new party grouping set up to encourage people to play a fuller part in politics.

The guest speaker was the Ulster Unionist Party leader and First Minister, David Trimble.

But when he noticed dissident UUP assemblyman Peter Weir enter the room, Mr Trimble asked him to leave. He was told the meeting was private and he had not been officially invited.

The group, which calls itself Reunion, says it aims to stimulate greater debate among the pro-union community and encourage a higher turnout at elections.

The group said it had nothing to do with the ongoing internal party debate between those who favour the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and its opponents.

About 250 invited guests gathered at the Stormont Hotel in Belfast for the inaugural meeting on Thursday night.

Mr Trimble said: "We are hoping through this venture to draw in a number of people who have not been politically active and encourage them to reunite themselves with Ulster Unionism."

'Positive approach'

He said the meeting had been for people with a positive approach to politics, who wanted to achieve things.


Peter Weir
Peter Weir: Disappointed he was asked to leave
Afterwards Peter Weir said he was "disappointed" that he had not been allowed to hear the debate.

"This meeting was nothing to do with the yes/ no debate. It was just simply a pro-union meeting at which there would be a range of speakers," he said.

"I was coming there to hear what was being said, but clearly anybody on the No side of things, simply was not welcome."

One of the organisers of the meeting, Trevor Ringland, said it had been about trying to "re-engage people with unionism".

"It was trying to broaden the appeal of unionism, it was trying to reach out to those people who haven't felt that there was a unionism that they could attach to," he said.

He claimed Mr Weir had turned up as a "publicity stunt."

Mr Ringland said a number of principles had been signed up to at the meeting, including upholding the democratic process.

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See also:

19 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
Unionist quits poll contest
29 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
Unionist dilemma over South Antrim seat
15 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
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16 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
Ulster Unionist candidacy row
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