US congress delegation to meet with Northern Ireland's five main parties

The US delegation led by Richard Neal will meet Northern Ireland's five main parties later Credit: Press Eye

A delegation of US politicians will meet with the five main political parties at Stormont on Thursday.

The nine members led by Congressman Richard Neal where in Londonderry on Wednesday.

They are here to discuss the post-Brexit trading arrangements, however, Mr Neal has been criticised by unionists for claiming the Protocol dispute was a "manufactured issue".

Ahead of their meeting today, the DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says their visit has been more of a hindrance than a help.

In a statement released ahead of meeting the congressional delegation on Thursday morning, Sir Jeffrey described Rep Neal's comments as "outrageous" and suggested the Representative for Massachusetts's 1st Congressional District had "adopted a Sinn Féin narrative".Mr Neal has also been criticised for using the term "planter" during a speech in Dublin on Tuesday when referring to unionist culture and heritage.

He claimed he was using a historic reference in relation to the establishment of the plantation in Ulster in the 17th Century.

One Wednesday evening, the US delgation met with Norther Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis at Hillsborough Castle.