‘Most people in Northern Ireland will opt to be Irish’

People Northern Ireland opt Irish says leo

DUP reacts angrily to Varadkar comment in Brussels that most Northern Ireland people will wish to be Irish and EU citizens after Brexit ‘if only for the convenience’

Members of the DUP have reacted angrily to comments made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Brussels last week, when he suggested most people in Northern Ireland will be Irish citizens after Brexit.

“Even people from a unionist background will want to become Irish and European citizens, at the very least for the convenience,” he said. He was speaking after a series of meetings with other EU leaders on the progress of Brexit talks, but his comments have been slammed by DUP MP Gregory Campbell who say they have ‘no statistical basis’.

“To try and infer this is some sort of declaration of Irishness is just ludicrous and absurd,” he said.

“To state what he has done without any evidence gives the appearance of declaring that there are people in Northern Ireland who would prefer to be Irish.

“Last week I got the latest reply about the other side of the equation — that tens of thousands of his own citizens are applying each year for British passports.

“The numbers are increasing and that is something he did not take into account. “The point I was making was that he should not conclude that because applications for Irish passports have increased that is in any way a political statement.

“Some people live outside the EU but like to travel within it.

“Businesses owners could have access to the EU with an Irish passport and access to the UK with a British one. There are some people who avail of two passports because it makes travel much simpler and offers entitlement to things like free healthcare while they are abroad.

“I think it is odd for him to say that applying for a passport is a person making a political point and that he would make such a statement without producing any evidence to back it up.”

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