We only had a hard border because of republicans, says DUP's Sammy Wilson
The DUP's Sammy Wilson says that the only hard border on the island of Ireland was due to the "actions of Republicans".
Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland programme, he said: “Ironically the only hard border we ever had in Northern Ireland was a hard border which resulted from the actions of republicans. People who wanted a united Ireland.
"They were the ones who caused army checkpoints to be put in place, army patrols, watchtowers etc."
His comments follow DUP leader Arlene Foster's claims that there had never been a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland.
'It is a bit of a nonsense, frankly, to talk about a hard border’ - DUP’s Arlene Foster pic.twitter.com/UQBohB0Dzu— RTÉ News (@rtenews) January 15, 2019
She said it was merely security to prevent terrorist attacks, "and even in those circumstances we weren't able to stop them".
Mrs Foster told an event in London there was never a hard border on the island and how it was upsetting to hear the Prime Minister Theresa May talk of the "borders of the past".
Explaining how while there was border infrastructure during the Troubles, she said that was for "completely different reasons".
"It was for the reasons of security and even then terrorists were able to come and go at their pleasure," she told the BBC.
Calling for the backstop to be binned, she said she believed there were administrative and technology options which could pave the way forward for border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic in order to prevent the need for infrastructure.
"As someone who lived through the Troubles," the DUP leader said, "we never had a hard border."
"There were 20,000 soldiers in Northern Ireland and they could not hermetically seal the border in Northern Ireland
"So it is a bit of a nonsense to talk about a hard border."