Paisley expects EU to pressure Ireland to ‘move aside’ in Brexit talks

DUP MP would tell Varadkar: ‘Listen mate, you have had enough fun with the politics of this’

European leaders will soon put pressure on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Government to "move aside" from the Brexit process so the EU and the UK can strike a deal, DUP MP Ian Paisley has suggested.

The North Antrim MP said he believed that EU businesspeople and leaders such as German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron would now be anxious to achieve a deal that is mutually satisfactory to the EU and the UK.

"If I was the German chancellor or the French president I would be saying to Mr Varadkar, 'Listen mate, you have had enough fun with the politics of this; it is now time to get on with the real deal'," Mr Paisley told The Irish Times.

The Brexiteer MP was expanding on comments he made earlier this week to Russia Today in relation to Mr Varadkar's insistence that there could be no change in the backstop designed to avoid a hard border, and that the EU was firmly behind him on this position.



Mr Paisley predicted there would be a shift to facilitate a deal. "This whole negotiation, frankly, for the last two years has been wrongheaded because it's been pointed at a political arrangement to suit domestic Irish politics as opposed to looking at the greater good of a negotiation on trade that would suit everyone in Europe, " he told RT UK .

"Sooner or later, the Germans and the French and other member states will say to the Irish, 'You've had a good enough run of messing about with your domestic politics. This is now frustrating us getting a deal with the United Kingdom. Move aside and let's get that deal'."

Elaborating on those comments on Thursday, Mr Paisley said “the art of any deal is to give both sides the ability to walk away thinking they have got enough”.

“That has to be surely on everyone’s radar at the moment; that the European negotiators have to feel that not only have they given enough but that they have got enough to satisfy themselves and all their partners.”

Awesome responsibility

He added: "They have also got to appreciate that we have an awesome responsibility to satisfy 17.5 million people and their desire to leave the EU, and also to satisfy parliament's desire not to have a backstop that locks Northern Ireland into something different forever."

Mr Paisley said that with the proper will “all the ingredients are there to make a deal” but as his colleagues had stated, it was also time “to dial down the rhetoric”.

He said he was not being “pejorative” about Mr Varadkar “but that German industrialists and others are now bound to recognise that one thing that mainstay Europe wants out of Britain leaving is a good trade relationship with the fifth largest economy in the world”.

“I think they are bound to now say, ‘OK Leo, you have had enough with the politics here, you’re people as much as our people now need a deal, let’s get on to that’.

“If that sobers minds then hopefully we can get a trade deal and we can get this sorted.”

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times