Coveney comments demonstrate hard border threats were EU negotiating tactic

10 July 2019

DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds MP has said the comments from Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney demonstrate that threats of a hard border were only ever an EU negotiating tactic.

Nigel Dodds MP

DUP Deputy Leader, Leader of the DUP Parliamentary Party, Spokesman on Reform and Constitutional issues and Foreign Affairs

Nigel Dodds

Responding to comments that inspections for livestock and agri-food products would take place away from the border Mr Dodds said,

“For several years a so-called hard border has been held up as inevitable should the UK leave the European Union without a deal. Indeed, as recently as January, the EU’s chief spokesperson said it was “obvious” there would be a hard border.

Such threats have only ever been a negotiating tactic, not least because a so-called hard border was impossible to create with twenty thousand soldiers based in Northern Ireland during the troubles. Simon Coveney’s comments are a final acceptance of this fact. It is a shame however that the charade was carried on for so long when sensible and practical steps could have been developed.

Mr Coveney should reflect however that should there be a no-deal exit then the Irish Government will have been the primary architect of that outcome. Their stubborn demand to include an unnecessary, unworkable and unacceptable backstop is why the Withdrawal Agreement was so soundly defeated by Parliament.

That stubborn insistence on the backstop comes even as Mr Coveney’s own government predicts it could cost 55,000 jobs and €6.5bn to the Republic of Ireland’s finances. A way forward does exist however and that is to agree a no tariff regime and then we can move forward with forming a new relationship.

The choice remains for the Irish Government whether they want to stick to a dogmatic position or work sensibly and practically to achieve an outcome that works for everyone.”

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