Belfast Telegraph

UVF tell Irish government to tone down 'Brit-bashing' - reports

Members of the UVF have told the Irish government to "tone down" the rhetoric over Brexit for fears the "Brit-bashing" could harm the peace process, it has been reported.

The Guardian reports senior loyalist paramilitaries warned the Irish Government it risked antagonising members of the loyalist community by making reference to possible threats against border posts.

Meeting with Irish government officials, the members criticised the rhetoric from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and the way he had presented the issue of the Irish border issue and the potential threat to violence.

Although the meeting reportedly took place two months ago, Varadkar has continued to make reference to the potential threat of violence there could be to border posts.

Earlier this month addressing fellow EU leaders in Brussels, the Taoiseach related the story of an IRA bomb attack at a customs post in Newry, Co Down in 1972.

During the meeting he held up a copy of the Irish Times, which carried an image of the bomb attack.

Britain is scheduled to leave the EU in March of next year, and ongoing negotiations on the shape of the future relationship between the two is yet to be settled.

 

An issue of contention between the DUP and the Irish government has been the proposed backstop which would maintain regulatory alignment between Northern Ireland and the Republic - possibly creating an economic separation between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The Guardian reports a loyalist, who has been engaged in talks involving the Irish government since the 1994 UVF ceasefire, said he had nothing but contempt for the DUP, but that all unionists would oppose any outcome which would decouple Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said: "The Irish Government has ongoing engagement at political and official level with a wide range of political, civil society and community representatives from Northern Ireland.

"In all such contacts we have emphasised that our objective in the negotiations is to protect the achievements of the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement, which represent the fundamental interests of everyone on the island.

"There is no question of Ireland or the EU trying to undermine the constitutional integrity of the UK. The proposals in the Protocol are practical and technical solutions to protect the gains of the peace process and keep the border as open and invisible as it is today."

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