Dublin should ‘wind its neck in’ over Brexit - Peter Robinson

Former DUP leader accuses Government of instilling fear in unionists

Former Northern Ireland First Minister and ex-DUP leader Peter Robinson: “Ministers in the Republic seem to be clambering over each other to instil fear in unionist minds.” Photograph: PA.

Former Northern Ireland First Minister and ex-DUP leader Peter Robinson: “Ministers in the Republic seem to be clambering over each other to instil fear in unionist minds.” Photograph: PA.

 

Former Northern Ireland First Minister and ex-DUP leader Peter Robinson has accused the Irish Government of acting provocatively over Brexit and called for the South to “wind its neck in”.

Mr Robinson, who has kept a low political profile in recent years, said when he left office relationships between Northern unionists and people in the Republic had “reached a new high”.

“With Enda Kenny at the wheel a real effort had been made to understand and work with Northern Ireland’s unionist community. That relationship was good for the political process and all the people on this island,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

“Sadly over recent weeks Ministers in the Republic seem to be clambering over each other to instil fear in unionist minds and express gratuitously offensive anti-British rhetoric.

“There appears to be a studied strategy to use the Brexit challenges - not as a means to display cooperation and good neighbourliness - but to drive for constitutional change,” Mr Robinson said.

“Dublin politicians have thrown caution (and common sense) to the wind and taken to lecturing the UK upon whom they rely for so much of their trade and to whom they came for help when in hard times the EU was battering down their door.”

The former DUP leader said the politicians were doing “significant damage” to North/South relations. “A more positive and accommodating approach is needed from the Republic or in layman’s terms the South ‘needs to wind its neck in’.”

Mr Robinson said using the exigencies of Brexit to drive a wedge between Britain and the Republic was an act of bad faith and provocation.

He added seeking a border on the Irish Sea or providing all-Ireland solutions that separated the North from Britain “by establishing an economically united Ireland would be seen in unionist circles as harmonisation leading to unification and would be completely unacceptable”.

“Sensible heads in the Republic need to assert themselves and bring some decorum to the handling of this issue. Sensible solutions can be found and positive outcomes are more likely to be reached if a spirit of friendship and mutual understanding exists.”