Belfast Telegraph

Varadkar's dangerous strategy regarding Brexit is playing right into the hands of Gerry Adams

 

By Eoghan Harris

Leo Varadkar rounded on the Brits about Brexit last Friday week.

Gerry Adams led the chorus of approval - and is still gushing.

Again, last Friday week, in the latest move in a week of love-ins with Fine Gael, Gerry Adams told the media that Sinn Fein was in total agreement with Leo Varadkar's government on Brexit.

What Adams really meant was that he was delighted Varadkar's speech had spilled over into politicians in all southern parties dumping on the DUP.

Adams was taking advantage of an intemperate speech which served no purpose except to feed anti- British and anti-unionist feeling. He has no interest in helping Ireland on Brexit. Had Adams any such patriotic concern he would instruct - I use the word deliberately - Sinn Fein MPs to take their seats in Westminster.

Malachi O'Doherty, a shrewd northern observer, says Sinn Fein's old northern strategy is in shreds. The new strategy is to direct anger about Brexit at the DUP and build a southern pan-nationalist coalition to support Sinn Fein in ramping up tribal tension in Northern Ireland.

Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney have been giving Sinn Fein plenty of propaganda support in setting up such a tribal coalition over the past two weeks.

The messing began with a report that Coveney was working on plans to put a technological or digital border down the middle of the Irish Sea. Any such border would breach the Good Friday Agreement principle of unionist consent - which delighted Sinn Fein because it annoyed the DUP.

Coveney denied these reports. But Irish civil servants had been probing such a plan. Thankfully, they have now stopped.

Varadkar covered up for Coveney, saying they were "on the same page". He did the same back in June after Coveney's gaffe on "special status".

But then, not for the first time, he seemed to feel he had to go a shade greener than Coveney.

Waving the green flag, he said: "We're not going to help the UK come up with a border solution."

The sensible Nigel Dodds, of the DUP, could take no more. He asked: "Just what was going on in Dublin?''

He added that since Leo Varadkar replaced Enda Kenny as Taoiseach, and Simon Coveney replaced Charlie Flanagan as Minister for Foreign Affairs, "confusion seems to be the order of the day".

Dodds was dead on target. Until June 13, relations between Dublin and the DUP were relatively good, despite Sinn Fein.

But on June 13, Leo Varadkar gave Simon Coveney responsibility for Northern Ireland, instead of keeping that portfolio for himself as De Valera did.

From the start, I publicly predicted this posting would poison the political waters, North and South.

As I expected, like two rivals in a children's playground, the two men made common cause against outside critics.

Rather than rectify the massive mistake of appointing Coveney by removing him, Varadkar is creating a vicious circle of error by supporting him.

Instead of admitting Dodds was telling the truth, southern politicians fought to play in Sinn Fein's anti-DUP orchestra.

By last Thursday, Adams was gushing about Varadkar rhetoric on Brexit. "I think the Taoiseach is 100% right on that issue and I support him completely."

But the following day, Adams showed his tribal teeth, saying: "The DUP are Brexiteering. They need to be faced up to... in a very cordial way."

Afraid of Micheal Martin, who has his measure, Adams is cultivating Varadkar and Coveney, hoping that Fine Gael might do business at the next election.

Not a chance?

Remember Fine Gael swallowed Sean McBride. Would Coveney really reject a sanitised Sinn Fein?

And do you think The Boys of the Old Brigade, who shook the hand of a British Queen, would baulk at the Blueshirts?

Like Lenin, Adams is willing to support any party "as the rope supports the hanging man".

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