Does Ireland want to remain a pawn of Europe or get rid of the backstop? asks DUP's Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson

The DUP’s Sammy Wilson says it is up to the Irish government to show flexibility on the backstop and needs to stop insisting that it stay in place.

“Do they want to keep doing the will of the European Union or are they prepared to look at some of the other arrangements that could be in place?”

Speaking on RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show, Mr Wilson said that comments about a hard border by European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas were “a negotiating ploy.

“We’ve always said there is no need for a hard border.”

He warned that there are no signs that the withdrawal agreement is going to go ahead in its current form.

However, Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness said that the UK voted to leave and the responsibility for Northern Ireland rests with the UK.

Mr Wilson said if the Irish government is so anxious to “move on,” then they need “to get the backstop out of the agreement and negotiate future trade agreements.”

Fianna Fáil’s Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers said that there are “slightly contradictory statements” coming from the EU and the Government.

“We’re not quite sure what’s happening behind closed doors. We’re being told unequivocally that there is no planning for a hard border.”

She asked was it “credible” to suggest that there was no planning for a hard border.

“Perhaps there’s a Cabinet within a Cabinet? It doesn’t add up. Has the Government a solution that we don’t know about?”

Ms McGuinness said there’s still time for the issue to be resolved. A no-deal would mean that politics had failed the people.

Mr Wilson responded that she was “grasping at straws.”

He said the withdrawal agreement was dead. “Don’t try to resuscitate it.

“I don’t fear a no-deal, I feel it’s the way of honouring the people who voted to leave.”

The Irish government has to make a decision, he said – to remain a pawn of the European Commission, and introduce a hard border even though neither they, nor the UK, wants it.

“The chickens are coming home to roost.”

He also ruled out a Border Poll saying it would be a breach of the Good Friday Agreement which had stated that a poll would only be called when it was obvious that there was a change of opinion in relation to membership of the UK.

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