UK Independence Party (UKIP) Member of the European Parliament Steven Woolfe has been banned from speaking at an event at the European Union-funded Skainos Centre in Northern Ireland. The venue told the MEP that it did not allow political meetings to take place there, although the event has been booked by UKIP Northern Ireland for the past month.
Mr Woolfe told Breitbart London that he landed this morning in Northern Ireland and received a telephone call from the venue staff alerting him to the ban. When quizzed, they said it was because they don’t allow political parties to hold meetings there. But the venue has been used before by Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, and the Green Party in Northern Ireland.
The venue proudly boasts a plaque inside the lobby which details how it was built with European Union money, from the European Regional Development Fund, leading to questions as to whether or not the venue was leaned on to cancel Mr Woolfe’s speech.
UKIP Northern Ireland said on their website: “Today at 11am, The day of the Event, UKIP were informed that they have been barred from the Skainos Centre.
“UKIP are in the process of relocating this evening’s Steven Woolfe MEP event on Brexit and Migration and will issue a statement during the afternoon on the new venue.
“This is a blatant attempt to stifle democratic expression of a legitimate national political party representing 4 million people across this country.”
Due to speak tonight at public meeting Northern Ireland on referendum.Venue Skainos centre banned me at last minute pic.twitter.com/38E80OiFMO
— Steven Woolfe MEP (@Steven_Woolfe) October 2, 2015
Ahead of the event, Mr Woolfe said: “This is my first time to Northern Ireland in the 14 months I have been an elected politician and I am looking forward to speaking to the people of Northern Ireland, who the majority like me, want a Better, Prouder and Freer United Kingdom. With the work of the team we have in Northern Ireland, not only is the party making fantastic progress, but also the Eurosceptic movement itself.”
The rally was due to be held at the Skainos Centre on the Newtownards Road in East Belfast.
The event was even promoted by UKIP’s MLA David McNarry, who said in the Northern Ireland Assembly in September: “I remind the House that the mass migration of whole populations from North Africa and the Middle East is a long-term problem. It has been driven by water, by poverty and now by war. It is going to need a great deal more thought and strategy than the simple but well-meaning humanitarian response that we all share and that the motion rightly calls for. In that regard, I invite Members to attend a talk given by UKIP’s immigration spokesperson, Steve Woolfe, in the Skainos Centre on the Newtownards Road on 2 October, where those major issues will be addressed.”
The Green Party held its annual Northern Ireland conference at the Skainos Centre in March.
Breitbart London attempted to contact the Skainos Centre for comment, but no one was available.