DUP: Irish Government is Acting Aggressively
Nigel Dodds, the DUP leader at Westminster, accused the Irish government of behaving in an “aggressive and anti-unionist way” during the Brexit negotiations.
Dodds said: “It should come as no surprise that the Dublin and Irish government wishes to advance its interests. The way it has gone about it in such an aggressive and anti-unionist way is disgraceful and has set back Anglo-Irish relations and damaged the relationships built up within Northern Ireland in terms of the devolution settlement - and that is going to take a long time to repair.”
As Dodds explained, the DUP might not have a veto on any deal the UK government strikes, but the Irish government does have and is “acting in a reckless and dangerous way.” He accused both Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney for the Irish government’s change in tone.
The Tory MP and Brexiter Jacob Rees-Mogg agreed with the DUP’s opposition to the EU deal and said: the DUP have “helped Her Majesty’s government stick to its own policy in these negotiations. Is it not essential that the red lines on maintaining the United Kingdom and on regulatory divergence whence the benefits of leaving come are indelible red lines?”
However, the DUP doesn’t want talks to fail and wants “a sensible” Brexit. It wants the government to remain loyal to its initial pledge and honour its red lines, which are similar to the DUP’s.
Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, despite the DUP’s interference, hopes that there is a possibility to salvage the Irish border Brexit deal. He regretted not concluding matters yesterday, but was optimistic that a deal could still be agreed by mid December. Also, Varadkar clarified that it wasn’t Ireland’s decision to include the phrase “regulatory alignment,” but it was the preferred option of the British negotiator. Varadkar gave a detailed account of the proposal which includes three potential outcomes in a final deal:
1. “UK free trade agreement that would allow free trade to continue not just north and south but between Britain and Ireland.”
2. “a bespoke arrangement involving technology and others things.”
3. And a third option, in the case the two previous ones failed: “ongoing regulatory alignment between north and south” which would have been “a back stop if all else failed.”
Speaking at the Institute for Government in London, Adrian O’Neill, the Irish Ambassador to London urged the Democratic Unionists to recollect their thoughts and reflect calmly on the proposal to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland post-Brexit. He said: “There are sometimes days like yesterday when something is about to happen, garbled versions get leaked in the media, people adopt robust positions, everyone gets very worked up, and sometimes it gets very difficult to de-escalate that in a couple of hours, and get people back into deal making. Sometimes what is needed for everyone to step back and to calmly think about it and to focus on the totality of the package on the table. Our hope is that is possible and the British government and the DUP are able to re-engage, and look at this afresh.”
Following the Irish ambassador’s words, Democratic Unionists should reflect calmly and look at the proposal in an engaging manner that would reignite the negotiations and bring everyone back to the table, so that the government is able to secure its goal by the 14 December.