DUP ac­cuses Varad­kar of threat to trade

Lack of Brexit deal would have worse ef­fect on Repub­lic’s econ­omy, says Dodds

The Irish Times - - Home News - AMANDA FER­GU­SON in Belfast and MICHAEL O’REGAN

The DUP has ac­cused the Taoiseach of play­ing a “dan­ger­ous game” with the Repub­lic of Ire­land’s econ­omy.

DUP deputy leader and West­min­ster leader Nigel Dodds yes­ter­day said comments Leo Varad­kar made about the pos­si­bil­ity of Brexit talks con­tin­u­ing into the new year “will send more wor­ries through the busi­ness and com­mer­cial sec­tors of the Ir­ish Repub­lic than it will in North­ern Ire­land or the rest of the United King­dom”.

Mr Varad­kar told the Dáil the Govern­ment wanted to move on to phase two of the talks but if this was not pos­si­ble be­fore next week’s EU sum­mit it could be done in the new year.

Mr Dodds sug­gested de­lays in mov­ing to phase two of the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions and a no deal out­come would be worse for the Repub­lic than it would be for the UK. “The longer there is de­lay in get­ting on to the sec­ond phase of the ne­go­ti­a­tions about a trade deal, the greater the prospect of a ‘no trade deal’ out­come,” he said.

“The Ir­ish Repub­lic would suf­fer far worse eco­nom­i­cally from no trade deal than the United King­dom.

“The Repub­lic of Ire­land has £13.4 bil­lion worth of sales to the United King­dom. It is es­ti­mated that tens of thou­sands of jobs are at stake.”

In an in­ter­view with Belfast Tele­graph DUP leader Ar­lene Fos­ter had said “there are lessons to been learned” from the break­down of Brexit talks in Brussels and that her party now wants to be di­rectly in­volved in fu­ture ne­go­ti­a­tions.

When asked what had gone so wrong in Brussels, she said if her party had been “in­volved di­rectly in the process, in the room, I don’t think we would have ar­rived at such a stark sit­u­a­tion”.

“If civil ser­vants are work­ing through par­tic­u­lar sce­nar­ios and are look­ing at texts, I do think that when they’re talk­ing about North­ern Ire­land it would be use­ful if we were di­rectly in­volved,” she said.

“I’m not de­mand­ing that we have to be in the room for ev­ery­thing but there is a need for us to be di­rectly in­volved.”

More in­volve­ment

A DUP source said Ms Fos­ter was not re­quest­ing to travel to Brussels but, rather than mere phone con­tact with Lon­don, she wanted more di­rect in­volve­ment with any fu­ture text be­ing con­sid­ered by the UK ne­go­ti­at­ing team.

Ms Fos­ter spoke with Ms May yes­ter­day morn­ing, her first con­ver­sa­tion since the Brexit bor­der deal col­lapsed on Mon­day after DUP prob­lems with the text re­lat­ing to reg­u­la­tory align­ment.

A Down­ing Street spokesman said: “Talks be­tween Ar­lene Fos­ter and the PM have been con­struc­tive. We are mak­ing good progress and there will be fur­ther en­gage­ment with the EU Com­mis­sion be­fore the end of the week.”

Mr Varad­kar has said that he be­lieved all par­ties in Ire­land, North and South, should be lis­tened to and see the text of any agree­ment on the Bor­der.

The Taoiseach also told the Dáil he ab­so­lutely ac­cepted Ms May wanted an agree­ment on the post-Brexit bor­der and was act­ing in good faith.

Speak­ing be­fore his tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with the prime min­is­ter yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, he said he wanted to re­state it was the Govern­ment’s de­sire, wish and am­bi­tion to move on to phase two of the talks. But if it was not pos­si­ble

‘‘

The Ir­ish Repub­lic would suf­fer far worse eco­nom­i­cally from no trade deal than the United King­dom.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds

to move to it next week, it could be done in the new year.

“I think we should lis­ten to all par­ties in North­ern Ire­land and not ac­cept this idea, that seems to be get­ting preva­lence in some parts of Lon­don, and maybe other places as well, that there is only one party in North­ern Ire­land speak­ing for ev­ery­one,’’ he added.

‘Spe­cial sta­tus’

Sinn Féin North­ern leader Michelle O’Neill told RTÉ if Ms May was “go­ing to en­gage with the DUP then she also needs to en­gage with all the other party lead­ers who do rep­re­sent the ma­jor­ity of the peo­ple here in the North”.

Ms O’Neill said the so­lu­tion to avoid­ing a hard bor­der was “spe­cial sta­tus, which we can sup­port with legal ad­vice is ac­tu­ally doable”.

Ul­ster Union­ist Party leader Robin Swann said events since Mon­day were best de­scribed as “an uned­i­fy­ing sham­bles” and there needed to be a res­o­lu­tion that se­cured the UK’s de­par­ture from the EU “on the best terms pos­si­ble”.

Yes­ter­day evening, Sinn Féin’s John Fin­u­cane told a “No bor­der in Ire­land” rally and mu­ral un­veil­ing in Belfast that the North’s 56 per cent re­main vote must be re­spected.

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