DUP hits out against ‘bull in a china shop’ Leo Varadkar over remarks about Protocol and protecting the Union

The DUP has struck back at Leo Varadkar over remarks he made about the Protocol and unionism.

By Adam Kula
Friday, 1st July 2022, 10:37 pm
Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar

DUP MLA Gordon Lyons dubbed the Tanaiste (the Irish deputy premier) a “bull in a china shop” when it comes to his approach to diplomacy in Northern Ireland, whilst DUP MP Gavin Robinson castigated him for his “partisan” behaviour throughout the post-Brexit process.

The latest political punch-up between the DUP and Dr Varadkar came after the former Taoiseach gave an interview to the BBC on Thursday.

During the course of that interview, he said: “The thing that does bother me the most actually is that the people of Northern Ireland aren’t being listened to by their sovereign government in Westminster.

“A letter was written, 52 MLAs out of 90 signed it. It’s almost as if British ministers didn’t read it or didn’t care, and they set out very clearly that they did not want the protocol revoked and they did not accept this argument that the protocol undermined the Good Friday Agreement.

“Fifty-two out of 90s MLAs, and the British government treats the views of a majority of elected representatives of Northern Ireland as irrelevant.”

He also said: “The British government had given commitments in the past that it would be even handed [concerning Northern Ireland].

“I don’t think that’s the case... that’s a strategic mistake for people who want to maintain the union - to continue to impose things that a clear majority of people don’t want means more people will turn away from the Union.”

Mr Lyons said: “Leo Varadkar has consistently behaved like the proverbial bull in a china shop when it comes to powersharing.

“His latest BBC interview was essentially a call for majority rule.. [he] ignores the fact that no unionist MLAs support the Protocol.

“Progress has only ever been in Northern Ireland with the support of unionists and nationalists.”

And when it comes to his accusation that the London government has not been “even handed,” Mr Robinson said that “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, because I’ve yet to see Leo Varadkar engage in a discussion around the EU, around Brexit or around the Protocol in a way that is anything less than partisan”.

Whilst Fine Gael leader Dr Varadkar now serves under Taoiseach Micheal Martin of Fianna Fail, he previously held the post himself from summer 2017 to summer 2020, during many of the crunch Brexit talks.