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Brexit: Dublin needs to recognise who its real friends are, says Trimble

By Nick Lester

The Dublin government needs to "think again about who their friends really are" in the countdown to Brexit, Lord Trimble has warned.

Despite indications of support for the Republic amid the ongoing talks, the Conservative peer argued the EU "does not have a good record in looking after small countries".

The former First Minister was speaking during a debate in the House of Lords on the implications of Brexit for the Good Friday Agreement, which also heard accusations that the border issue was "cynically" being used to keep the UK within the bloc.

Lord Trimble said that following the signing of the Agreement "a good and new relationship came into existence" between Dublin and Belfast and between the UK and the Republic.

He added: "That is now being threatened and it's being threatened not by us in Northern Ireland, but it's being threatened by Brussels and Dublin.

"Particularly folk in Dublin, they need to think again about who their friends really are.

"I know the EU are hinting to them or saying to them that they will look after them, but the EU does not have a good record in looking after small countries and I think Dublin should take that on board."

DUP peer Lord Browne of Belmont rejected claims that Brexit would see the Good Friday Agreement "torn up, destroyed and made redundant", leading to a renewal of violence.

He argued that there were solutions to the border issue "provided there is a mature approach and a willingness on all sides to examine them".

For the Liberal Democrats, former Alliance Party leader Lord Alderdice said people in Ireland were trying to leave the past behind.

"Please do not push us back towards it. Please resist the temptation to fight out the battles that you want to fight here about Brexit by using us as some kind of vicarious battlefield, because you will only make the situation worse," he said.

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