Ireland's Deputy Leader and Minister for Foreign Affairs has accused the British Prime Minister of being untruthful, just ahead of the Brexit election.
As the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, prepares to vote in a general election on Thursday, the Republic’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has accused British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of being untruthful with his electorate.
Coveney rejected Johnson’s claim that checks will not be needed on goods traveling between the North and Britain under the terms of an agreed Brexit deal.
Coveney said inspections would have to take place on goods moving in both directions under the terms of the withdrawal agreement the British prime minister struck with the European Union.
Johnson has been accused of lying to voters on the issue ahead of the general election after repeatedly saying that there would be no checks as the North would remain part of the U.K. customs territory. He subsequently said there would be some, but these would apply only to items destined for the Irish Republic.
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster said that before the latest version of the deal was announced in October, she and her deputy Nigel Dodds were informed by British Revenue and Customs that goods coming from Britain to the North would face customs checks under the agreement.
Coveney, who was speaking in Brussels, said, “Goods coming from Great Britain into Northern Ireland will need to have some checks to ensure that the EU knows what is potentially coming into their market through Northern Ireland.
“Goods going the other way from Northern Ireland into Great Britain will have far less requirement for checks at all. The British government has indicated that they want frictionless or unfettered access for goods originating in Northern Ireland going into the rest of the U.K. single market.”
The Irish Times reports that Coveney also cast doubt on the likelihood of a deal on the future relationship between the EU and the U.K. being hammered out before the end of next year during the Brexit transition period.
Former British attorney general Dominic Grieve told The Irish Times that Johnson is “simply not telling the truth” when he claims that there will be no checks on the Irish Sea after Brexit.
Separately, in the North, two prominent nationalists, including an excommunicated Catholic priest, have encouraged voters to support DUP candidates.
Danny O’Connor, a former chairman of an SDLP constituency branch and the first nationalist mayor of Larne, said the DUP is the only party that shares his pro-life beliefs.
O’Connor said, “I never thought I would be in this position where the only candidate who will uphold my views on the sanctity of life and holy matrimony would be from a party I opposed for so many years at the ballot box. Life is more important than either nationalism or unionism. None of these things matter to a dead baby.”
Controversial cleric Pat Buckley, who was excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1998 as a result of his ordination as a bishop into an independent church and later came out as gay and entered into a civil partnership with his partner, said on his bishoppatbuckley.blog website that he was switching his support from Sinn Fein to the DUP.
He wrote that on three occasions in the past seven years he was faced with insurmountable challenges to do with establishment issues. He said that on all occasions he went to his DUP MP Sammy Wilson.
Buckley added, “And, on all occasions, he worked hard for me and sorted my issues.”