Johnson has ‘stupid Brexit fantasy’

Johnson has ‘stupid Brexit fantasy’

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has warned British prime minister Boris Johnson that his “stupid, dangerous” Brexit fantasy will not become “Ireland’s nightmare” as she accused him of risking the future of Northern Ireland.

Ms McDonald lashed out at the Conservative Party leader as she separately urged the DUP to “open their eyes” and realise they cannot repeatedly “veto” any Brexit backstop deal simply to keep hold of power.

During her party’s annual pre-Dáil think-in at the Carrickdale Hotel in Dundalk, Co Louth, Ms McDonald said despite the “fantasy” rhetoric Mr Johnson has no real idea what he is doing.

Criticising his attitude to Northern Ireland and the entire Brexit process, she said the British prime minister’s tactics risk causing significant damage to ordinary people.

“Boris Johnson follows a fantasy in which the rights and interests of the Irish people can be readily cast aside. It is time to call Mr Johnson’s fantasy what it is — profoundly stupid and immeasurably dangerous.

“Mr Johnson’s stupid, dangerous fantasy cannot become Ireland’s nightmare.

“Brexit is a very English problem the consequences of which must not be shifted onto Ireland,” she said.

“As October 31 approaches and the pressure mounts, neither Taoiseach Leo Varadkar nor Michel Barnier can blink in the face of Tory intransigence.

“Too much is at stake. The British prime minister needs to hear this: the Irish people will not allow our country, our communities, and our economy to be vandalised.

“There can be no return of a hard border, no customs checks, no more division on this island to suit the needs of British governments that have no interest in Ireland’s future. The bottom line guarantees in the backstop cannot be bartered away,” she said.

Ms McDonald also said that despite the ongoing stand-off over the backstop, the DUP must not be allowed to “veto” any potential breakthrough Brexit deal.

On the possibility of a Northern Ireland-only backstop solution to the Brexit stand-off, Ms McDonald said DUP leader Arlene Foster cannot continue to stand in the way of cross-community backstop support.

The DUP know people in the North did not consent to Brexit. So, no, there should be no veto in the protection of Irish interests. Nobody can have a veto in delivering what are very, very necessary protections.

"They’re not green protections or orange, it’s not a nationalist or a unionist demand.

“The DUP cannot, must not, have a veto on protecting Ireland’s basic rights.”

In a speech to Sinn Féin members, Ms McDonald also said she believes the growing risk of a no-deal Brexit means the Government’s Brexit omnibus bill is “not fit for purpose” and must be re-written.

Responding to repeated calls from Fianna Fáil and others for Sinn Féin MPs to take their House of Commons seats, Ms McDonald said, to applause, that if Micheál Martin’s party wants to run candidates on a “go to Westminster” platform they are welcome to do so.

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