DUP are accused of ‘letting down Unionism in Brexit negotiations’

All three devolved administrations have rejected Boris Johnson's Brexit deal.
All three devolved administrations have rejected Boris Johnson's Brexit deal.

Former Magherafelt Ulster Unionist Party councillor George Shiels has said the DUP has let Unionism down in negotiating Brexit.

He claimed in a statement that it “must be clear to all students of politics” that the Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is not secure in the hands of the DUP.

Mr Shiels said: “Political arithmetic gifted to the DUP the de facto position of Northern Ireland Chief Negotiator on Brexit with the Conservative Government. The DUP spokespersons agreed that a soft Brexit was essential and a soft border to boot. They were wrong!

“This is the border that needed billions of pounds of spending to defend it against the IRA terrorists who had a haven in the ROI and were treated with kid gloves by a long list of weak Taoiseachs and Tanaistes.

“The questions are: How will the large quantities of oil and drugs, historically smuggled across the border, be controlled? How will the people smuggling be stopped?

Continuing, Mr Shiels said the DUP must realise that the government of the Republic of Ireland will increasingly promote cross-border projects funded by the EU, with constitutional strings attached, after Brexit is delivered.

“The European Union will be only too willing to collaborate in undermining the integrity of the UK,” he said. “So far as negotiating is concerned the DUP has let Unionism down, I wouldn’t trust that party with the sale of a bag of rusty nails. It was on the DUPs watch that a border down the Irish Sea was imposed on Northern Ireland. A crazy proposal that defies logic.

“The DUP wasted its political clout with the Conservatives and should have pressurised the Government into action to reduce waiting times within the Health Service in Northern Ireland.

“It’s not too late to deliver Brexit as the referendum result decreed, with all of Unionism pulling on the same end of the rope to achieve a just solution for Northern Ireland.”

In response to Mr Shiels’ statement DUP Cllr Paul McLean had this to say: “I don’t believe in washing my dirty linen in public but it’s quite clear by the content of this statement that George is very bitter and hurt from not being returned at the last council election. During the many years I have known George, he was more aligned with the DUP group than with his colleagues within the UUP.

“The people of Mid Ulster will see this statement for what it is.”