Ulster Unionist Leader, Robin Swann MLA, has challenged the Republic of Ireland`s Government to start taking their responsibilities seriously in UK-EU negotiations.
Mr Swann said:
“The Republic of Ireland`s (RoI) Government can no longer act as a passive bystander and try to continually pass the blame for the current political impasse on to the UK and EU.
“If Simon Coveney is genuine in his concerns the answer to the current challenges lie in the hands of the RoI`s Government and he acknowledges that in his own words when he says -
"The Irish and British governments have travelled a difficult — and sometimes tragic — road together but have found a way to build a peace process based on honest partnership. Let’s not take risks with our precious peace."
“So I ask the RoI Government to take their responsibilities seriously. They have a role to play in addressing genuine concerns about the backstop. They should step out from behind EU negotiators in seeking a sensible solution.
“Mr Coveney should also be cautious with his words as his comments in The Sunday Times seem to be implying that anyone who has genuine concerns about the backstop is threatening the peace process and the Belfast Agreement. Genuine concerns about the backstop should not be so glibly dismissed. The Ulster Unionist Party helped negotiate the Belfast Agreement and we find his words deeply disturbing. His comments do nothing to assist in finding a solution. However what they may do is give encouragement to those who wish to take us back to a darker past.
“Mr Coveney could heed the words of Patrick Hillery when he said about EEC accession in 1971: "Different applicants have different problems. The Irish solution to the Irish problem is what we should look for."