Wednesday 20 February 2019

DUP's Arlene Foster: 'There was never a hard border in Ireland'

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster attends
Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster attends "A Better Deal" event in London, Britain, January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Jonathan Bell

Arlene Foster has said there was never a hard border in Ireland but rather security needed to prevent terrorism.

"And even in those circumstances we weren't able to stop them," said the DUP leader.

Mrs Foster told an event in London there was never a hard border on the island and how it was upsetting to hear the Prime Minister Theresa May talk of the "borders of the past".

Explaining how while there was border infrastructure during the Troubles, she said that was for "completely different reasons".

"It was for the reasons of security and even then terrorists were able to come and go at their pleasure," she told the BBC.

Calling for the backstop to be binned, she said she believed there were administrative and technology options which could pave the way forward for border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic in order to prevent the need for infrastructure.

"As someone who lived through the Troubles," the DUP leader said, "we never had a hard border."

"There were 20,000 soldiers in Northern Ireland and they could not hermetically seal the border in Northern Ireland

"So it is a bit of a nonsense to talk about a hard border."

She said technology should be considered as an option for checks along the border, adding: "The borders of the past were there for a completely different reason. They were there to stop terrorists, they were there to stop the flow of Semtex as opposed to the flow of powdered milk."

She said it was also "distasteful" when the Prime Minister talked of a no-deal Brexit changing life in Northern Ireland.

"For people who talk about the borders of the past it does quiet upset those of us who live in Northern Ireland where progress has been made in a very meaningful and tangible way," she said.

Belfast Telegraph

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