Friday 23 August 2019

'Dublin gets on better with London than Belfast'

Ceremony: From left, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, Glasnevin Trust chair John Green and DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Ceremony: From left, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, Glasnevin Trust chair John Green and DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Relations between Dublin and London have progressed more over the past two decades than between the Republic and Northern Ireland, the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson has said.

The MP said people on this island have a tendency to "retreat" and "seek shelter in our own identity" at a time of difficulty.

But he called on all sides in the Brexit debate to "rise above" it and "do better".

Speaking at the O'Connell Forum in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, alongside Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, Mr Donaldson said the DUP does not see Brexit "as a vehicle for creating a hard Border on the island of Ireland".

Instead he called for a "sensible solution" that will benefit everybody.

And he cautioned that parts of the Good Friday Agreement have been left "dormant" in recent years, including north-south relations.

"If you asked me 20 years ago which were the relationships most likely to flourish, I wouldn't have said the east-west relationship would have done better than the north-south relationship. But they have and they started from a low base," he said.

Mr Donaldson praised the maturity of the Anglo-Irish relations "up until Brexit".

"I hope they flourish again," he said, adding: "There is no threat to my unionism from the north-south relationship."

He said politicians should "focus a little less on the Border and more on the potential for building relationships between these islands.

"We need to repair the damage that has been done."

Irish Independent

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