28 February 2019
DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds MP said,
DUP Deputy Leader, Leader of the DUP Parliamentary Party, Spokesman on Reform and Constitutional issues and Foreign Affairs
“The Irish Prime Minister must explain why two Northern Ireland trawlers have been impounded by an Irish Navy warship. I have already raised the matter with our own government.
Whilst Northern Ireland allows Irish boats to fish in our waters, the Republic of Ireland has policed a hard border and do not allow Northern Ireland boats enter their waters.
This is quite outrageous.
Despite the Voisinage Agreement to have reciprocal fishing arrangements, the Irish have never enacted any legislation to give legal effect to the agreement. Legislation was drafted in 2016 but remains on the shelf.
We have raised this with the Irish government previously. If they have been holding back as some bargaining chip on Brexit then it utterly exposes the Irish faux concern about a hard border on the island of Ireland.
These heavy handed tactics with our fishing vessels demonstrate that Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney are entirely focused on Ireland and are fair weather friends to Northern Ireland. When Leo Varadkar talked about soldiers on the border he didn’t mention the Irish sending warships with 76mm guns.
Despite their narrow focus, the DUP will work with the Government to get a Withdrawal Agreement which works for the entire United Kingdom as well as our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland.”