Paisley: Varadkar’s border stance could hurt Republic

DUP North Antrim MP Ian Paisley
DUP North Antrim MP Ian Paisley

DUP MP Ian Paisley has called on Leo Varadkar to start pulling his weight rather than “attempting to throw his weight around” on the Irish border issue after Brexit.

Mr Paisley said the taoiseach was potentially damaging his economy more than that of Northern Ireland, as he pressed Theresa May to raise the issue with her Irish counterpart.

Mrs May said Britain would work with the Irish government and the European Union to ensure there was no return to the borders of the past.

North Antrim MP Mr Paisley asked Mrs May: “Has the prime minister taken the opportunity to remind the Republic of Ireland’s taoiseach that it is about time he started to pull his weight in the interests of the Republic of Ireland, rather than attempting to throw his weight around on the issue of the border?

“Because all that he is doing is damaging, potentially, his economy more than the economy of Northern Ireland.”

Mr Paisley also warned Labour they were “playing with fire” by saying that the peace process in Ireland could be at risk because of Brexit.

Mrs May replied: “It is very important that all sides on this issue are very clear that we must ensure the Belfast Agreement is put into place and is recognised and respected in its entirety.

“And of course when it comes to the border, and resolving the issue of the border between Northern Ireland the Republic, it will of course be for us to work with the Republic of Ireland government and with the European Union more generally to find the solution we all want to see, which is ... no physical infrastructure at the border and no return to the borders of the past.”