DUP leader Arlene Foster has called for “calm heads” as this week’s European Council summit looms. The pro-Brexit leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party travelled to Dublin today to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
She was given a tour of St Patrick’s Cathedral by Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Glendalough Michael Jackson.
Mrs Foster said she was seeking a Brexit deal which worked for both the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Mrs Foster said the EU’s backstop suggestion whereby Northern Ireland would continue to follow the bloc’s rules if no trade deal is struck would create barriers with Great Britain.
“There have to be cool heads in what is a very febrile atmosphere.” “Great Britain is our largest market by far and we cannot have barriers,”
The DUP leader said Northern Ireland sent three-and-a-half times more goods to Great Britain than to the Republic.
“So it is very important that we don’t have barriers between ourselves and the rest of Great Britain.”
Mrs Foster asserted an internal barrier would not be tolerated by any other country, in reference to customs checks potentially being imposed on goods sent between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The DUP leader was holding her first meeting with Mr Varadkar for some period. She said it was important to engage, that there was no point in standing back and shouting at each other, that understanding should be developed between unionists and the Irish government.
Mrs Foster added:
“I very much hope we do get a deal, a sensible Brexit. “One that works for Northern Ireland but also one that works for our friends and colleagues in the Republic of Ireland as well.”
— Arlene Foster DBE PC #ProudofNI. (@ArleneFosterUK) October 15, 2018
Meanwhile, the Observer (https://t.co/iZdQHuJGDf) reports today that they have seen leaked emails from the DUP’s Arlene Foster claiming that she is “ready” to trigger a no-deal Brexit, something she now views as the “likeliest outcome”.
— Sandy Powpow (@1922slaymaker) October 15, 2018