IRELAND’S deputy PM sparked uproar yesterday by saying a No Deal Brexit could trigger violence in Northern Ireland.
Simon Coveney said a “crash” Brexit would “pose huge questions for politics and potentially for the management of civic unrest”.
He rubbished claims Britain and the EU are edging closer to a deal — after upbeat comments from European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
But his warning of a return to the Troubles prompted a backlash. DUP MP Ian Paisley stormed: “It’s disgusting anyone would want to seek to threaten violence because of Brexit.
“Perhaps Mr Coveney should take a vow of silence.”
On Thursday, Irish PM Leo Varadkar said how encouraging it was that the “rhetoric” around Brexit had been tempered.
Last month senior sources close to Mr Coveney boasted that a terrorist attack in Fermanagh had forced Boris Johnson to rethink his plan to remove the backstop. The source claimed Mr Johnson and the “Brits” had become a “bit friendlier” towards Ireland because of the attempted murder of PSNI police officers.
But Irish experts have claimed a revival in terror attacks is a symptom of wider “political failure” on the island.
BOJO’S CRUNCH MEETINGS
Mr Johnson is poised for crunch meetings at the UN in New York next week.
He is due to meet Mr Varadkar as well as EU Council chief Donald Tusk. He will also have three-way talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron.
Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay insisted talks were “moving forward with momentum” after meeting EU negotiator Michel Barnier yesterday. He insisted: “There is a common purpose.”
But a senior Government official said: “I don’t think either party is in any doubt there is a lot more work to be one to get a deal.”
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Mr Juncker had sparked hopes of an agreement on Thursday after appearing to soften his insistence on the backstop in any Brexit deal.
The backstop is designed as an insurance plan to avoid a hard border in Ireland by committing the UK to EU customs rules in the absence of any agreement on future trade.
On Thursday, Mr Varadkar said the “rhetoric has been tempered and the mood music is good” after a phone call with the PM. “There is a lot of positivity,” he added.
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