Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach Varadkar slammed for 'silly' border in the sky comments - DUP say he's taken leave of his senses

DUP MP Sammy Wilson has hit back at Leo Varadkar after the Taoiseach warned planes from the United Kingdom may not be able to fly over Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking this week the Taoiseach said that EU was currently part of a "single European sky".

It comes after a turbulent week in Westminster with a number of amendments to the Government's Customs Bill on Brexit which Northern Ireland politicians have claimed make a no-deal Brexit and hard border in Ireland more likely.

Conservative Party Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg called the idea "silly" and said they were the words of an "airhead".

To stop planes flying over the Irish airspace would be "an absurd act of a masochistic nature," the MP said.

You can’t take back your waters and then expect to take back other people’s sky. Varadkar

Mr Varadkar said that the UK needed to take the issue into consideration in their Brexit negotiations.

“If they leave the EU they are not, and that does mean if there was a no-deal hard Brexit next March, the planes would not fly and Britain would be an island in many ways. If they want their planes to fly over our skies, they would need to take that into account,” the Taoiseach said.

“You can’t have your cake and eat it. You can’t take back your waters and then expect to take back other people’s sky”.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said that the Taoiseach had "taken leave of his senses" in an attempt to "prove himself a good servant of the EU".

"What does he intend to do? Put flak towers around the border and shoot the planes down. Intercept them with his air force and blow them out of the air," the East Antrim MP said.

"Does he not want any more people flying from Heathrow into Dublin as hundreds of thousands do at present to escape the crippling UK Air Passenger Duty on long haul flights? Will the Aer lingus flights from the UK no longer be welcome in Irish skies?

"Will the refusal to allow Aer Lingus planes flying to and from Belfast, to fly across Ireland represent a hard border and be a breach of the Belfast Agreement?

"If this is an example of blue skies thinking from the Dublin government as it dreams up new ways of intimidating the UK to stay in the EU, then it shows how desperate the Europhiles are becoming as our Prime Minister is starting to make it clear that she is contemplating every option including no deal if the EU digs its heels in in the negotiations which will take place between now and October."

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