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Ian Paisley Jr accuses Coveney and Varadkar of 'unnecessarily aggressive' language

Varadkar said earlier today that Boris Johnson will have to “depart” from what he’s said recently if he wants a Brexit deal.

LAST UPDATE | 26 Jul 2019

THE DUP HAS criticised the Irish government for “unhelpful” language when speaking about Brexit and Northern ireland, accusing the Tánaiste of being “downright provocative and disrespectful”.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney have both given statements on the current Brexit state of play following the appointment of Boris Johnson as the British Prime Minister.

Coveney said that Johnson’s comments on Brexit have been “unhelpful”, Varadkar said today that if Johnson wants a deal, he will have to go back on some of the comments he’s made this week, particularly in relation to the backstop.

This evening, MP for North Antrim Ian Paisley Junior said that the Irish government should “dial down the megaphone diplomacy”.

Whether it is statements from the Irish Prime Minister or the Deputy Prime Minister (sic), language is being used which is unhelpful and unnecessarily aggressive.
The Irish government is entirely entitled to speak its mind. However, for the Irish Foreign Minister to parade around Parliament Buildings in Stormont as if it is his seat of government is downright provocative and disrespectful.

“It is high time Simon Coveney showed some respect for the constitutional situation. If he wants to make inflammatory statements, he should do so in his own country and be fully aware of the damage he is doing.”

Reconsidering the union

Varadkar mcg 3

Speaking today at MacGill’s Summer School in the Glenties, Co Donegal, Leo Varadkar said that he doesn’t know whether there will be a United Ireland in his lifetime, but has said that he thinks that those in Northern Ireland will reconsider their role in the union.

“I honestly don’t know – I do think that more and more people in Northern Ireland, certainly in the event of a no deal, will come to question the union.

People who are described as moderate nationalists will look more towards a United Ireland, and liberal unionists will start to ask the question where do they feel more at home, as is Britain potentially talking about bringing back the death penalty.

He said that having a Green Paper or a form on Irish unity would be “provocative” in the current climate, and said that the Irish government was simply “trying to achieve the status quo” and not, as has been accused of them, “exploiting Brexit”.

When asked what he will say to the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Varadkar said that he would “congratulate him, really get a measure of the man, and hear about his plans” for Brexit. He also said that:

If Boris Johnson means what he’s said in the past couple of days about wanting to leave with a deal and wanting to have a free trade deal with the EU, well then it will mean he will have to depart from some of what he’s said in the past couple of days.

Johnson has repeated claims he made before becoming Prime Minister that the backstop needs to be removed from the withdrawal agreement, or replaced with technological solutions which he hasn’t specified yet.

Speaking about the Confidence and Supply agreement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, Varadkar said “politics doesn’t always work, but I think it’s a good example of how politics has given Ireland stability”. He added:

Many people, including myself, didn’t think it would last very long – but now we’re on our third British Prime Minister. Maybe there’ll be a fourth yet, who knows?

You can watch the interview in full here, which covers Brexit, housing, health and climate change issues.

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