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DUP accuses Varadkar of sending 'mixed messages' and 'going backwards'

“Just what is going on in Dublin?” DUP deputy Nigel Dodds has asked provocatively.

DUP leader Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds speak to the media at Stormont Castle in Belfast.
DUP leader Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds speak to the media at Stormont Castle in Belfast.
Image: Niall Carson via PA Images

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has come under harsh criticism from the DUP after he announced that he didn’t support an economic border between the North and the Republic.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has said that Varadkar’s position is “total nonsense”, accusing Varadkar of sparking a series of “inconsistent and incoherent statements”, and “sending mixed messages” on Brexit.

Since Enda Kenny and Charlie Flanagan departed the scene confusion seems to be the order of the day.

He also took aim at Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, who clarified that his calls for a special status for Northern Ireland were not the same as Sinn Féin’s policy, and said that the Irish government sounded like Sinn Féin in their support of “Irish language supremacy” (in reference to the ongoing debate around an Irish Language Act).

It’s the second time that Dodds has criticised the Irish government in two days.

On Friday, Dodds accused Varadkar of changing his position by saying there should be no economic border between the two regions. Varadkar said that he wouldn’t help the UK government come up with border options as he believed there shouldn’t be one.

“We’re not going to be doing that work for them because we don’t think there should be an economic border at all,” he said.

DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr said that Varadkar was “cutting off his nose to spite his face”.

Today, Dodds was a little more critical, calling Varadkar’s position “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?

The statement ends with a call for cooperation ahead of Brexit talks:

“It’s simply taking things backwards at a time when common sense cooperation between our two countries and between the Republic and Northern Ireland is what’s needed.”

Varadkar has said in one of his first interviews as Taoiseach that he would like to see a united Ireland in his lifetime, and has said he doesn’t want to see a border between the North’s six counties and the Republic.

Nigel Dodds is Commons Leader and was elected as Belfast’s Lord Mayor twice. He’s served as the DUP’s party secretary and deputy leader, and was an assistant to Dr Ian Paisley while he was an MEP for Northern Ireland.

Read: No mention of the Irish border in DUP’s Tory deal

Read: Leo travels to London to discuss Brexit and Northern Ireland

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