The DUP have slammed a top European diplomat who branded the Irish border “illogical” during a visit to Ireland.
After visiting the border region, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, made his comments in Dublin the next day.
“It’s not a river, it’s not a mountain bridge,” he said of the border.
“It meanders for three hundred and ten miles through meadows, forests, farmland. It cannot be securely policed and is therefore, in fact, an illogical divide, one that at least should remain invisible, just as it is today.”
DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson accused Mr. Verhofstadt of echoing Sinn Féin.
“It is rather ironic that we have the European Parliament’s spokesperson using Sinn Féin language to describe the border and talking about the cost of securing the border when it was republicans who for thirty years engaged in a campaign of violence along the border and who continue to engage in smuggling,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.
“It is Mr. Verhofstadt whose comments are illogical. We support the proposals put forward by the UK government.
“We believe these proposals are the best way to secure the soft border which is what we all want.”
Mr. Donaldson said Guy Verhofstadt was entitled to his opinions “but what he needs to understand is that the UK is leaving.”
“The UK has put forward reasonable proposals for creating a soft border after we leave the EU.
It is now up to Brussels to respond to the UK’s reasonable plans.”
Mr. Verhofstadt said he was in Ireland to bring a message of solidarity and added that the EU would not allow Ireland to suffer from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
"What has been clear from the beginning is that we will never allow that Ireland will suffer by the British decision to leave the European Union," he said.