The leader of the SDLP has said that former UUP leader David Trimble should not be scaremongering about paramilitaries reappearing over the question of Brexit.

In a recent interview Mr Trimble warned that the Irish Government's Brexit strategy risks provoking loyalist paramilitaries.

He claimed paramilitaries could become active again over silly things which he said the Irish Government is saying.

However speaking at his party’s annual conference Mr Eastwood said the only threat is from hard Brexiteers who want to put a hard border in Ireland.

He said the only solution to Brexit is staying in the customs union and single market and not scaremongering around paramilitaries reappearing.


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The SDLP leader also said that the possibility of some kind of deal with Fianna Fáil has been an ongoing conversation and that he has never ruled it out.

Earlier this week the party's former director of communications outlined the possibility of the party withdrawing from politics in Northern Ireland to allow Fianna Fáil run possible election candidates there. 

He said that the idea that a party like the SDLP, who wants to change the constitutional makeup of the country, would rule out political change after that would be silly.

Mr Eastwood said the party is focused presently on dealing with the challenges of Brexit and getting the Stormont institutions up and running.

When asked about any plans for a special conference on the issue of abortion, Mr Eastwood confirmed that a conference would take place on 19 May to discuss the issue.

He said it was a sensitive and difficult issue for many people.