Kate Hoey hits out at Dublin's peace process 'slur'
Labour's Kate Hoey has condemned Dublin claims that the UK leaving the European Union could endanger the peace process in Northern Ireland.
The Northern-Ireland born MP was the special guest at the Traditional Unionist Voice gathering in Templepatrick on Saturday.
She said comments by Irish TDs amounted to a "dreadful slur on the people of Northern Ireland.
"How dare the Government of the Republic of Ireland tell us if we decide to leave that it is going to mean the streets of Belfast will be running with blood.
"I think that's shocking," the 69-year-old former Co Antrim politician added.
A rare eurosceptic on the Labour benches, the Vauxhall MP was speaking to the converted and made clear she wanted to avoid commenting on any Northern Ireland issues.
But she argued: "I love Europe. I just don't love the EU."
She said what Prime Minister David Cameron is demanding in the negotiations leading up to the planned referendum in two years was "really meaningless" and did not amount to the fundamental change required in the relationship between this country and the other 27 EU members.
She was only the second oldest speaker at the podium, however, after former Ulster Unionist MP William Ross, who is president of the TUV, gave the main welcoming address, and contrasted the action of the French security forces in the aftermath of the Isis attack in Paris to the security forces in Northern Ireland.
"The French security forces and Government take a different approach. Those forces assaulted an occupied block of flats killing and capturing the terrorist gang within.
"A ferocious barrage of automatic fire was used. Will there be complaints about the use of excessive force? Would the French Government ever allow inquiries? No!
"There will not, for the French Nation and Government will live by the dictum of De Gaulle that 'A nation which cannot defend itself is no nation'.