No need for Irish warships impounding NI fishing boats, says Arlene Foster

There is no need for checkpoints on the Irish border and no need for Irish warships impounding Northern Ireland fishing boats, DUP leader Arlene Foster has said.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 7:18 pm
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 8:20 pm
DUP leader Arlene Foster MLA. Pic by Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Mrs Foster also reiterated her party’s concerns over the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, saying it “will not work”.

Speaking to DUP members and supporters in Mid Ulster this evening, Mrs Foster said her party will work with Prime Minister Theresa May to ensure Brexit is implemented.

“The Brady amendment demonstrated what will work,” she said.

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“The Prime Minister must deliver on the commitments she made to the House of Commons.”

Referring to two Northern Ireland-registered fishing vessels that were seized by the Irish navy on Tuesday, Mrs Foster said there cannot be a hard border in the Irish Sea.

The fishing boats were detained amid an ongoing dispute over the right to fish in Ireland’s waters.

The two fishermen were reunited with their boats on Friday after pleading guilty to breaching fishing regulations.

“We do not want to see a so-called hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic,” she added.

“In the last few days though, we’ve seen the Republic of Ireland policing its own hard border.

“Let’s be clear, there is no need for checkpoints on the border, and there is no need for Irish warships impounding Northern Ireland fishing boats.”

It was announced on Thursday that Northern Ireland will receive £140 million of additional Government funding in the next budget.

Mrs Foster said the Government funding will help tackle waiting lists, assist areas of deprivation and improve mental health services.

“Whilst the DUP are delivering for households and businesses across every corner of Northern Ireland, where are Sinn Fein?” Mrs Foster asked.

“They are on the sidelines criticising the priorities in a budget which is only being set at Westminster because Sinn Fein walked away from Stormont.

“Whilst Sinn Fein’s demands are holding Northern Ireland to ransom, the DUP is delivering on the demands from ordinary people across every part of Northern Ireland who want to see progress in their schools, roads and hospitals.

“Sinn Fein may have a list of demands about the Irish language which they need to satisfy a section of their support base, but I have a growing list of demands from all over the country from people who want to see progress in their schools, roads and hospitals.

“Those people are nationalists, republicans, unionists and those of no constitutional view.”