30 July 2017
Statement from DUP MP Nigel Dodds
DUP Deputy Leader, Leader of the DUP Parliamentary Party, Spokesman on Reform and Constitutional issues and Foreign Affairs
"Just what is going on in Dublin?
Since Enda Kenny and Charlie Flanagan departed the scene confusion seems to be the order of the day. The intemperate outburst by Leo Varadkar at a press briefing expressing anger at the UK's decision to leave the EU is just the latest in a series of inconsistent and incoherent statements. Statements are made and then reversed sending mixed messages.
First, we had Simon Coveney talking about special status for Northern Ireland seeming to adopt the language of Sinn Fein. Then he was forced into an embarrassing "clarification" that in fact he didn't mean support for the type of unattainable demand that Sinn Fein want. Indeed even the European Parliament has since voted down that particular hare brained idea.
Then we had the demand for the Irish Sea to become the border after Brexit. Coveney denied this was the intention only for his boss to let loose and confirm the opposite. Never mind that Varadkar's position is total nonsense. There already is an economic border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. For instance, does he not realise that every time you cross the border you need to change currency? Or that each jurisdiction is subject to entirely different taxation and financial regimes?
It is good that the UK government swiftly and forcefully debunked any notion of internal borders within the UK. That's in line with previous commitments given to us by the Prime Minister and it's something that is non negotiable.
Sensible work to achieve practical and mutually beneficial arrangements for the border after Brexit have been stopped on Varadkar's orders.
This all follows on from the new Dublin team coming out in favour of Sinn Fein's demands on Irish language supremacy in the devolution talks.
All of this can hardly be put down to inexperience. Rather it seems to be deliberate positioning by the new team at the helm in Dublin in preparation and positioning for a coming general election. Dressed up as grand ideas, what's going on is pure politicking for their own domestic market. Let no one pretend otherwise. It's simply taking things backwards at a time when common sense co-operation between our two countries and between the Republic and Northern Ireland is what's needed."