October 3, 2019 / 3:56 PM / 14 days ago

DUP leader says Ireland paving the road for a no deal exit

DUBLIN (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Northern Ireland allies on Thursday accused their Irish neighbours of rejecting a reasonable offer and paving the road for a no deal exit from the European Union.

“Mr Coveney’s rejection of a reasonable offer is paving the road for a no deal exit because unionism will not allow Northern Ireland to be trapped at the whim of Dublin or the EU.  We will not buy that,” said DUP leader Arlene Foster.

Earlier on Thursday, Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told the Irish parliament that if Britain’s latest proposals for an agreement on leaving the European Union are its final offer then a no-deal Brexit lies ahead.

“The Irish government’s preparedness to dump the consent principle for their country’s expediency is foolish in the extreme and sends a very clear message to unionists,” Foster said.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar welcomed Britain’s offer to the European Union but said customs arrangements and giving a veto to Northern Ireland’s assembly over any future regulatory divergence from EU rules are a problem.

Britain is due to leave the EU at the end of October but the two sides have not been able to agree the terms of their divorce. The biggest obstacle remains a deep disagreement over how to keep open the seamless border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit.

Reporting by Graham Fahy; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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