Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Arlene Foster and Michelle Gildernew in tense exchange over hard border

DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew. Credit: BBC
DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew. Credit: BBC

DUP leader Arlene Foster shared a tense television exchange with Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew on Monday.

The pair appeared on BBC Newsline to discuss the Fermanagh bomb attack on police.

Talk turned to Brexit with Ms Gildernew saying there was "potential for a hard border" and it was "very real and very concerning".

Asked about leaked documents suggesting that Brexit could result in food shortages and border infrastructure the DUP leader said that the document was outdated.

Mrs Foster said "nobody was talking about putting infrastructure on the border, not the Irish Government, not the British Government and certainly we don't want to see it either".

Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew said that she grew up "beside one of the hardest borders" the military installation in Aughnacloy.

Mrs Foster cut in saying that the installation was there to "stop terrorists".

"Well it didn't stop the terrorists who shot Aidan McAnespie," Ms Gildernew responded.

Mr McAnespie, a Sinn Fein member, was killed when he was shot in the back by a British soldier while crossing the border on his way to a GAA match in February 1988.

The army claimed that Mr McAnespie had been killed after a shot was fired accidentally.

Scene at Aughnacloy border where Aidan McAnespie was shot.
Scene at Aughnacloy border where Aidan McAnespie was shot.

"The fact is that a hard border did exist for most of my life and I am deeply concerned that border will be reinstated within not months, but weeks of October 31," Ms Gildernew said.

Mrs Foster rejected the claim saying "why would we have military installations on the border".

The Sinn Fein MP said that the "Brexit disaster" was looming, while Mrs Foster said there would be no need for border installations "as the IRA are no longer in operation going backwards and forwards across the border.

"What we need to do is make sure that the PSNI and all of the security forces have the appropriate level of finances to catch the people responsible for this bomb and try and stop anything else happening.

Ms Gildernew said that "any kind of customs [checks] or cameras on the border is a hard border".

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