10/01/2019

Irish Foreign Minister Criticises Brexiteer Backstop 'Spin'

Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs has denied meddling in UK politics and insisted he has an obligation to challenge those "misrepresenting" what the Withdrawal Agreement means in practice.

Simon Coveney added that he does not have an anti-British bone in his body and wants to be a "candid friend" to Ireland's closest neighbour.

He criticised those Brexiteers who have claimed the border backstop would undermine the constitutional integrity of the UK and make a united Ireland more likely by creating borders between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

"Unfortunately some people are trying to spin it into something that it is not – there is no threat," he said.

"There is no hidden agenda here coming from the Irish Government or from Dublin. What we are trying to do is protect the status quo.
News Image
"Some people are choosing, in my view, to misrepresent what that deal is about for the future, particularly for Northern Ireland, and I need to speak up on that, I wouldn't be fulfilling my obligations if I didn't."

Relations between the Irish Government and the DUP have become strained throughout the Brexit process, with the Stormont party accusing the Dublin administration of scaremongering over the threat of a hard border.

The party's East Antrim MP, Sammy Wilson, has portrayed the border backstop as a "confidence trick" played by the Irish Government.

Mr Coveney suggested that such views are not reflective of the wider unionist community in Northern Ireland.

The Irish Government has also rejected any suggestion that a future Stormont executive could veto aspects of the border backstop, contrary to a commitment issued by the Conservative government.

Mr Coveney expressed concern about the proposal due to the legally binding international treaty known as the Withdrawal Agreement.



(JG)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

17 October 2011
Finucanes' Inquiry Campaign Moves To Dublin
The Finucane family has announced that they will continue their campaign to get an independent inquiry into the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane, this time with Irish government support and despite the British government saying they could only offer a review.
04 September 2003
Ex-CIA director to monitor paramilitary activity
Secretary of State, Paul Murphy today announced plans by the British and Irish Government's to help restore devolution in Northern Ireland. Among the plans laid out by Mr Murphy on Thursday was the establishment of a new Independent Monitoring Commission which will report on the IRA and loyalist ceasefires every six months.
02 May 2003
Adams attacks Irish justice minister
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has launched a scathing attack on Irish justice minister Michael McDowell claiming he wouldn't trust him "to go to the shop for a bottle of milk". Mr Adams made his remark after the Dail TD claimed the Irish Government's role within the current peace process was that of an honest broker.
18 November 2009
Travellers 'Stay' With NIHE
As a 'high profile' family of travellers continue to make the news, it has emerged that responsibility for their transit sites will not transfer to local government control.
07 December 2004
Talks continue as deadline closes in on DUP and SF
Talks are continuing today to restore Northern Ireland devolution ahead of this week's deadline, set by the British and Irish Governments.