Concerns over the negative impacts of a possible ‘hard’ Irish border post-Brexit have been dismissed as “absurd” by the DUP’s Gregory Campbell.
The East Londonderry MP said the triggering of Article 50 last week by Prime Minister TheresaMay – which began the formal withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union – had sparked further “ludicrous assertions” about its impact on border regions.
“Since last June there have been those in Northern Ireland who have repeatedly claimed there would be a ‘hard’ border and with it all sorts of ludicrous assertions about how this would negatively impact on border regions and the economy more generally,” he said.
“I and others have equally robustly pointed out that these claims could not be justified and would not be realised. In the past week we have begun to see just how those at the heart of the discussions see things panning out.”
Mr Campbell said: “Our own government have said they don’t wish to see a hard border, the Irish government have been equally forthright in saying the same thing. Now the official EU response to Theresa May’s letter has indicated that they don’t want to see one either. The question now for the naysayers is very straightforward ... if the British government, Irish government, and the EU are all saying they don’t want this hard border, if all the people involved in the negotiations are saying they don’t want something, who then does?”
Mr Campbell added: “All the relevant governments have now declared their hand in this respect at least, so who is there to implement this absurd mythical claim? The answer is plain to see, it’s not wanted, it’s not going to happen so we need to move on.”