Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach is pushing for Belfast Agreement to be torn up: Wilson

Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar

By Our Political Staff

A senior unionist has accused the Irish Government of 'pushing for the Belfast Agreement to be torn up'.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson also claimed the "hysterical and self-centred" response from Dublin to demands from the Prime Minister to have the backstop removed from any Brexit deal spoke volumes.

Mr Wilson was responding to remarks by the Irish premier at the weekend, when Leo Varadkar asserted that a no-deal Brexit could lead to a united Ireland.

The Taoiseach also claimed it could mean "liberal Protestants, liberal unionists starting to ask the question as to where they feel more at home".

But Mr Wilson, the MP for East Antrim, bluntly rejected the remarks.

"The megaphone reaction demonstrates that the blatant attempts by Leo Varadkar and co to use the Irish border as a means of undermining Britain's referendum has backfired on them and they know it," he said.

"The Irish Government walked the world stage and styled themselves as the victims of British aggression.

"'Poor little Ireland' may have worked in the past - but people are growing tired of the same old tune. The game is up. They have overplayed their hand and they need to change course."

Mr Wilson also told RTE that while there are many unionists who voted to stay within the EU, that didn't mean they wanted to leave the union of the United Kingdom.

He said "the kind of shenanigans we're seeing from government in the Irish Republic" would make people more determined to avoid a 'united Ireland'.

He added: "It is the Irish Government who are pushing for the Belfast Agreement to be torn up, the principle of consent to be cast aside and for a border to be placed between Northern Ireland and Britain, the country to which we belong, the country to which is our biggest source of income and source of trade."

Mr Wilson's combative remarks come as a poll published in the Sunday Independent found that Mr Varadkar did not have majority backing for his handling of Brexit matters.

Fewer than half of those polled (43%) were satisfied with Mr Varadkar's performance on the Brexit issue.

The poll was conducted by independent pollster Kantar.

Kantar's Paul Mason said: "This poll suggests that there is uneasiness with the current Government strategy and, arguably, its megaphone diplomacy."

Mr Wilson also hit out at comments from Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney during an appearance at Stormont on Friday.

Mr Coveney said new Prime Minister Boris Johnson had set the UK on a "collision course" with the Republic and the European Union over his comments so far on the Brexit process.

Mr Wilson said: "I will be enquiring as to who gave the Irish Foreign Minister access and permission to use Parliament Buildings for a press conference to attack the UK Prime Minister."

Belfast Telegraph


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