Belfast Telegraph

Ukip's McNarry wants British Army to patrol Irish border after a Brexit

By Staff Reporter

The leader of Ukip in Northern Ireland has called for the Army to be sent in to patrol the Irish border if voters back the UK's exit from the European Union.

Former Strangford MLA David McNarry said "jihadis" could copy the IRA and travel from the Republic to Britain via Northern Ireland.

He also said leaving the 310-mile border without armed patrols after a Brexit would leave the UK open to an influx of migrants, people traffickers and drug smugglers.

Outspoken Mr McNarry, who holds no elected office after he decided not to stand for Stormont, was Ukip's only Assembly Member.

"I see a porous border as a national security threat," he told the Express newspaper.

"We have almost erased our border in terms of drawing a line but everyone is so laidback about it. What is scary is that it is the UK's only land border.

"Cameron needs to spell out to the people of the UK how they will be protected from smugglers, drug dealers and people traffickers."

The controversial politician said leaving the EU would mean the Republic could be used as a back door into the UK.

He argued that drug and people smugglers would land in the sparsely populated west coast of Ireland, before crossing the border. From there, it would just be a ferry ride to Britain.

Mr McNarry, whose party failed to have any candidates elected to Stormont last week, said the Prime Minister should start military border patrols in advance of the June 23 referendum.

"I support patrols, active patrols. We need to have the Army asserting our sovereignty," he told the Express.

"It's a hell of a job to ask anybody to do, but if you leave it then it's wide open for migration, for the clever traffickers, for the criminals.

"They need to see that we're here and we'll do everything we can to stop people who wish us harm crossing the border."

Mr McNarry said using Northern Ireland to reach Britain from the Republic was not new.

"We know the IRA did it successfully," he said.

"It could happen again with dissidents, or jihadis copying them.

"It is very easy to get into the Republic and make their way to Northern Ireland and across into Scotland.

"Neither the Irish nor ourselves operate in Schengen but it is open for the Turks to exploit.

"There's no way they won't see the access and get around the loopholes and into the UK."

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