The Ulster Unionist Party’s East Antrim MLA, Roy Beggs, has responded to Ian Paisley’s comments at the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, in which the North Antrim MP was critical of the Northern Ireland Protocol which the DUP paved the way for on 2 October 2019, by agreeing to a regulatory border in the Irish Sea.
Roy Beggs said:
“Today (Wednesday) at a meeting of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Ian Paisley said that ‘a blind man on a galloping horse’ could have forseen problems with the NI Protocol and that ‘the protocol is now an impediment to trade.’
“This is indeed a departure, because less than a month ago the very same Ian Paisley was telling unionists not to engage in “scaremongering about the union and the border”. He also assured us that ‘Unionists have this in their own control, they can talk themselves into pessimism about all these things.’
“Today as he condemned the Northern Ireland Protocol at the meeting of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, he struck a very different tone. He could have – and certainly should have – acknowledged and apologised for the disastrous role the DUP played in providing Boris Johnson with the cover to negotiate it. Instead, he completely failed to acknowledge it was the DUP which gave Boris Johnson the green light on 2 October 2019 to proceed with his proposals, which contained a border in the Irish Sea. This has led to the erection of border inspection posts in my own East Antrim constituency, by a DUP led ministry.
“This is the same Ian Paisley who once claimed that Northern Ireland will be treated completely the same as every other component part of the UK’ and that ‘Leo Varadkar was done over by the EU, the UK and the DUP.’
“We repeatedly warned Ian Paisley and his colleagues of the folly of the path they were following, but as usual they claimed to know better and steered Northern Ireland into the orbit of the EU. That is quite a remarkable feat given that they claimed at the time that they wanted the whole of the United Kingdom to leave the EU. His realisation of the disaster the DUP has delivered, is too little too late.”