Brexit: Dublin needs to start acting in a ‘mature way’, says Paisley

‘I think you would be better off with us’ - DUP MP says Republic should leave EU

Speaking at a Northern Ireland Affairs committee in Westminster, DUP MP Ian Paisley, accused Dublin of acting “disgracefully” over the border and he urged the UK to “shake their cage” in EU talks. Video: Parliament TV

 

DUP MP Ian Paisley has urged the Republic to take a more mature approach to Brexit.

“If the Republic of Ireland is going to keep shouting at our Border and telling us that it is all doom and gloom and we are not going to get a proper relationship, that interferes in the negotiation process,” he said.

“All of us, every constituent part, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, are leaving the EU.

“Don’t undermine our position and our sovereign integrity.”

Mr Paisley is one of 10 DUP pro-Brexit MPs who are propping up the British government on key votes. He told RTÉ that issues of post-Brexit convergence with EU regulations needed to be negotiated one by one.

“I am up for co-operation, I believe co-operation between our two states is good and in many areas is vital.”

He added: “There are other areas where, frankly, divergence will come about on those regulations because we in Northern Ireland, being part of the UK, believe we are going in a different direction.”

Adhering to certain EU policies would hold Northern Ireland back, the North Antrim MP added. That included areas like agriculture.

“We are not about convergence here, we are about co-operation.”

Irish Ministers and diplomats have embarked on a high-level round of contacts with the British government and their EU counterparts in an attempt to secure a breakthrough on the issue of the post-Brexit Border by the weekend.

A flurry of meetings and calls have been taking place this week and will intensify on Thursday and Friday, sources said.

On Wednesday night Government Buildings confirmed that the president of the European Council Donald Tusk will visit Dublin for talks with the Taoiseach on Friday.

Dublin is seeking to maintain EU backing for the Irish position on the Border in advance of a crucial deadline on Monday, when the British prime minister Theresa May meets the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels.

The State is seeking a clear commitment from the British that there will be no change to the Border arrangements. The way to achieve this, Irish officials have argued in Brussels, is for the British to commit that there will be no “regulatory divergence” between the EU and the UK after Brexit.

The British negotiators fear, however, that this would limit their freedom when negotiating trade deals with other countries after Brexit. The Government is keen to divorce the issue of regulatory divergence from the constitutional position of Northern Ireland.

Veto

Mr Varadkar on Wednesday told the Dáil that he did not believe Ireland would have to use a veto at an EU summit next month if the British refuse to give adequate commitments on the Border.

Although the EU summit that will formally decide on the question of sufficient progress does not take place until mid-December, Monday’s meeting between Ms May and Mr Juncker is seen as vital because the agreement of EU governments will be needed in advance to allow draft conclusions to be circulated to national governments.

Mr Paisley said the “row with Dublin” over the border was completely unnecessary.

On Wednesday, at a meeting of the Northern Ireland Affairs committee in Westminster, Mr Paisley accused Dublin of acting “disgracefully” over the border and he urged the UK to “shake their cage” in EU talks.

He said the UK should stop “pussy-footing around” if the Government keeps on frustrating the will of UK citizens and urged Britain to make a fishing deal “long, tedious and hard for Dublin,” unless they acted in a “mature” way.

“They (the Irish government) need to start acting in a mature way and deal with us as good neighbours and as friends instead of trying to frustrate the will of the people of the United Kingdom by saying they want a united Ireland.

“And I think that needs to be spelled out loud and clear, and if Her Majesty’s Government isn’t — for diplomat reasons — prepared to say it publicly, I hope that you’re starting to shake their cage internally and privately in these negotiations,” he told the committee.

On Morning Ireland Mr Paisley said that the Government has to respect that the people of the UK have taken the decision to leave the EU.

“That decision needs to be respected.”

He added that he thought the Republic should also leave the EU: “I think you would be better off with us.”

On the issue of the possibility of customs posts, he said “If the Republic of Ireland wants to put up customs posts – I hope they wouldn’t be so silly. We’re not up for doing that.”

He warned: “If you’re trying to trip us up, that will reflect badly on deals afterwards.”

Mr Paisley was adamant that there will not be a second referendum on Brexit and called for focus on negotiations “that help get us all a good Brexit.” - Additional reporting PA