Foster warns Coveney he is rejecting ‘reasonable’ Brexit offer with ‘intransigent’ remarks

Simon Coveney said if Boris Johnson’s plan is the final proposal “there will be no deal”
Arlene Foster said Mr Conveney’s remarks were “unhelpful, obstructionist and intransigent”

Nigel Dodds said Leo Varadkar will be remembered as the Taoiseach who restored a hard border in Ireland

Irish Deputy PM: If this is the final proposal, there will be no deal

The leader of the DUP has warned the Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney that he is rejecting a reasonable offer in Boris Johnson’s latest Brexit paper.

Arlene Foster accused Mr Coveney of paving the road for a no-deal Brexit if he rejects the proposal.

Speaking in the Dail on Thursday, Mr Coveney said there would be no Brexit deal if the paper put forward by the Prime Minister is the final proposal.

Mrs Foster described Mr Coveney’s remarks as “deeply unhelpful, obstructionist and intransigent”.

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“The Irish government’s majoritarian desire to ride roughshod over unionism was one of the reasons why the Withdrawal Agreement was rejected,” she said.

“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,” she said.

“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.

“From our 2017 Manifesto to Paragraph 50 of the December 2017 Joint Report, the consent of the people of Northern Ireland for specific solutions has been key.

“It is at the heart of the Belfast and St Andrews Agreements, yet the Irish Foreign Minister is now railing against it because it doesn’t suit his agenda.”

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Coveney said he believed Mr Johnson wanted to make a deal.

The Irish Government regarded the proposal as a serious proposal and that was why their response is a cautious one, he said.

“But if that is the final proposal there will be no deal. There are a number of fundamental problems with that proposal.”

He said it would not be the basis of a final agreement, “but I hope it will be a stepping stone” – saying that there are serious problems with the proposals for customs checks, the role that would be played by the Stormont Executive and a veto for any party on whether to stay in the agreement.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds also hit out at Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Mr Conveney for their response to Boris Johnson’s proposals

“The incendiary and outrageous comments by Leo Varadkar and his Foreign Minister are a clear ramping up of rhetoric designed to derail any realistic prospect of a deal,” he said.

“The flippant Dublin reaction to the Prime Minister’s proposals has also exposed the reality that the Irish government would never have consented to the United Kingdom leaving the backstop if it had been implemented.

“Our message to Leo is simple. He should reflect on his comments and his intransigent approach.

“He is destined to go down in history as the Taoiseach who restored a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland because his friends in Brussels will insist on it.”

On a visit to Sweden, Mr Varadkar said Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans “fall short in a number of aspects”.

Mr Varadkar said there were five ways to avoid a hard border – the reunification of Ireland; the Irish Republic re-joining the UK; the UK remaining in the single market or customs union; the border backstop mechanism; or the UK reversing the Brexit decision.

“There are one in five ways that this can be done, and at least four of those would be acceptable to the Irish government, but the best one is of course a backstop or some form of backstop, and that’s what we are trying to achieve,” he said.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph for the original story 

Three DUP MPs at risk in snap general election, polls suggest

The DUP’s 10 MPs: Gregory Campbell, Nigel Dodds, Jeffrey Donaldson, Paul Girvan, Emma Little Pengelly, Ian Paisley JR, Gavin Robinson, Jim Shannon, David Simpson and Sammy Wilson with party leader Arlene Foster

Statistical analysis of polling trends has suggested up to three DUP MPs could lose their seats in a snap general election.

Speculation has been mounting Prime Minister Boris Johnson could attempt to call an election for November in a bid to bolster his support in the House of Commons.

The Conservative party – which has a confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP for the support of its 10 MPs – has a working majority of just one in the Commons.

In a report in the Sunday Times, Belfast-based pollsters LucidTalk suggest DUP MP Emma Little Pengelly will lose her seat based on analysis from polling firm YouGov.

It suggests Alliance could dramatically take the seat with 35% of the vote with Ms Pengelly taking 21% – a drop of nine points – with the SDLP, which previously held the seat coming in with 11%.

Elsewhere LucidTalk’s analysis suggests Gavin Robinson’s East Belfast seat and Paul Girvan’s South Antrim seat could be vulnerable to an Alliance challenge.

The study suggests in both constituencies the DUP are marginally ahead of Alliance.

In East Belfast, which Naomi Long famously wrestled from the clutches of Peter Robinson, the party is sitting on 41% support, two points behing the DUP.

While in South Antrim, the party could see its vote share soar to 32%, one behind the DUP, the polling suggests. In the last general election the party managed a 7.4% share of the vote.

Alliance has seen a surge in its vote at the ballot box during the Stormont stasis.

In May’s European Elections Naomi Long took the second seat after weeks of specualtion she could pinch the third seat from the UUP.

And just weeks earlier in the local government elections, the party broke new ground in constituencies it had never had representation before and saw its vote share increase almost 5% to 11.5%.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph for the original story 

Arlene Foster and senior DUP members meet Theresa May at Chequers

Arlene Foster met Theresa May on Thursday

 

Senior DUP members have been in Chequers for a private meeting with the prime minister.

The party’s leadership Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds, and chief whip Jeffrey Donaldson met Theresa May on Thursday afternoon.

The DUP said the meeting was a useful opportunity to remind Mrs May that they want the Stormont Assembly restored.

They added that they wanted the result of the EU referendum delivered in a way which “strengthens the union”.

The confidence-and-supply pact the DUP shares with the Conservative Party is due for renewal next month.

“>http://The pact was signed in June 2017

A spokesperson for Downing Street said the prime minister held a “private political meeting” with the DUP at her residence.

With many thanks to: BBCNI and Jayne McCormack Political Reporter for the original story

 

Platform used by gunmen to shoot at police convoy

‘These dissident republicans have absolute contempt for their own community – Will Kerr

GUNMEN built a makeshift platform to launch a carefully planned attack on police in a built-up area of North Belfast. A rifle found a short distance away from the attack in Ardoyne on Thusday night was thought to have been dumped by the gunmen as they fled.

Photograph of platform used to fire on PSNI/RUC

The military issue Kalashnikov-style automatic weapon was taken away for forensic examination. It was found in an alleyway a short distance from Butler Walk where the gunmen had erected a platform from scaffolding at the side of a high wall. Shots were fired at a convoy of police vehicles at around 7.10pm as they traveled along the Crumlin Road en route to the loyalist protest camp at Twaddell Avenue in North Belfast. Police said three armoured vehicles came under fire, two of which were towing illuminated warning signs towards the Ardoyne interface. At least 10 bullets hit two of the vehicles. While no-one was hurt, Assistance Chief Constable Will Kerr said the officers were shaken by the attack. “These dissident republicians have absolute contempt for their own community”, he said. “They fired military grade weapons, in a highly built up area. “There is no doubt the principle target was police officers.” The senior officer said he beleived the weapon recovered was linked to the attack. A silver Passat car hijacked on Thursday morning in the Poleglass area of West Belfst was also found burning in Elmfield Street in Ardoyne.

The attack was launched out of range of the Twaddell camp occupied by loyalists protesting against a ban on parading through Ardoyne. 283631_211947858933644_120706324_nAround 40 familes in the area were moved from their homes, with many not permitted to return until yesterday evening while police carried out follow-up searches at several locations. Holy Cross Primary School was also forced to close as a result of the police operation. SDLP councillor Nichola Mallon said the people of Ardoyne want those responsible to “get off their backs”. “This is the latest incident to cause major disruption in the area,” she said. “Between the nightly protest parades and the car that was hijacked in Jamaica Street and used to transport the bomb into the city centre, people are concerned things are spiralling, that every time Ardoyne appears on the news it is for negative reasons and that is not an accurate reflection.” Shame Fein assembly member Gerry (the mouthpeice) Kelly said the attack “endangered the local community in Ardoyne”. “Anyone could have been in the vacinity of Holy Cross Chapel at this time which was the direction in which the shots were fired,” he said. “The PSNI were traveling to Twaddell Avenue where they are in place each night in order to prevent illegal marches past Ardoyne. The people of Ardoyne understand this. “Whoever was behind this attack need to come forward to this community and explain their actions.” DUP MP for North Belfast Nigel Dodds said: “This would obviously appear to be the work of dissident republicians and I would hope that the community in Ardoyne will stand against those responsible and with police as they carry out their investigations.”

With many thanks to: Allison Morris, The Irish News.

Up to 15 shots fired at police patrol

POLICE are treating a gun attack on officers in North Belfast last night as “attempted murder“. People in the area said they heard between 10 and 15 shots being fired at three police vehicles as they drove along the Crumlin Road at about 7pm.

ONH

No injuries were reported. There was a heavy police presence in the area at the time due to a band parade connected to the loyalist protest camp at nearby Twaddell Avenue. Police say the shots were fired from a point near Brompton Park which is a shot distance from Holy Cross Church. A silver Volkswagen Passat, beleived to be used by the gunmen, was found partially burnt-out at nearby Butler Place. Firefighters attended the burning car, having been called by residents who feared that their hiuses might catch fire. After the atttack a police helicopter hovered over the area while officers used spotlights fixed to Land Rovers to examine the car from a distance and shone torches into the front gardens of houses on the Crumlin Road.

One man from the area said he initially thought loyalists had attacked nationalist homes. “We heard the shots and my mother shouted for everyone to get down,” he said. “There must have been 10 to 15 shots. The shooting went on for three or four seconds.” Chief Superintendant George Clarke described the shooting as “attepted murder”. The attack was also condemned by the main political parties. DUP MP Nigel Dodds said it appeared “to be the work of dissident republicans”. Shame Fein North Belfast MLA Gerry (the mouthpiece) Kelly described the shooting as “reckless”. “Whoever was behind this attack need to come forward to this community and explain their actions. To date they have failed to do so and act solely on their own behalf,” he said. SDLP  councillor Nicola Mallon said nightly protest parades since the Twelfth “have created a highly volatile situation in the Ardoyne/Twaddell area” and the attack was “a blatant attempt to ratchet tensions up further”. She said the gunmen had displayed a “reckless disregard for life” by firing shots on a busy road. UUP councillor David Browne also condemned the shooting while Alliance North Belfast representative John Blair said there “can be no justification ” for it. Meanwhile, two men arrested in connection with last week’s attempted bomb attack on Victoria Square in central Belfast were released unconditionally last night.

With many thanks to: Connla Young and Maeve Connolly, The Irish News.

ORANGE ORDER’S DAY OF RECKONING HAS COME !!!!

From the perspective of an Ex-member of the Orange Order !

When Richard Harass arrives…. he will need to realise that the only way to bring them to heel is to hit them where it hurts – in their pockets.

Confused Dot.Com

THOMAS Babington Macaulay was a 19th century English historian, politician and writer. In the 1840s he was MP for Edinburgh, in 1847, after he made a speech supporting an increase in the annual grant to Maynooth, the Tories whipped up Orangemen into a a campaign of sectarian hatred against him and he lost his seat.

The campaign degenerated into violence against Catholics fleeing the Famine to Scotland. The Tories washed their hands of it. Plus ca change. Mccaulay said: ” The natural consequences follow. All those fierce spirits, whom you hollowed on to harass  us, now turn around and begin to worry you. The Orangeman raises his war-whoop…. But what did you exspect? Did you think, when, to serve your turn, you called the Devil up, that it was easy to lay him as to raise him? Did you think, when you went on flattering all the worse passions of those whom you knew you knew to be in the wrong, that the day of reckoning would never come?”

The day of reckoning has certainly come for the Orange Order. They have been exposed as never before after the inflammatory speeches of their leaders threatening days of demonstrations and “fighting the war on today’s battleground” blew up in their faces. They were isolated as the thugs their emotive language unleashed proceeded to wreak the gardens, walls and fences of neat houses on the Woodvale Road. To add to their disgrace semi-naked men and women full of cheap drink performed acts of debauchery in public. Men wearing Orange Order collarettes and uniformed bandsmen tried to kill police officers with swords, ball-bearings fired from hunting catapults and petrol bombs. Orange culture on full display for the world’s media. Like Mcaulay’s Tories the cowardly unionist politicians who only days before had signed an appeal calling for decisions of the Parades Commission to be obeyed ran for cover after immediately attacking any decision they didn’t like whether at Carrick Hill or Ardoyne. Besashed Nigel Dodds and his little Sir Echo, nodding dog McCauseland, tried on Friday morning to persuade the police to breach the ruling that only 100 blue-bag yahoos be permitted past Ardoyne. Rarther than starting the day with a riot the police agreed to the raucous jeers of said blue-bag brigade.

You’d think that even the ancient dopes who lead the Orange Order must realise the game is up. They don’t. When Richard Haass arrives to try to square the circle he will need to realise that the only way to bring them to heel is to hit them where it hurts – in their pockets. If you were to try to organise a public function in a park or square you would need to acquire public liability insurance. Every Orange march declared contentious should be required to lodge a bond of £10,000 and provide an insurance certificate for £10 million. The Orange Order should be required to pay for policing just as football clubs do. ACC Will Kerr has the cost of the weekend disturbances is already into “multiple millions”. We all have to pay for that in money diverted from schools, hospitals and roads. That’s outrageous. The people who cause the damage should be liable and that’s just the Orange Order. Just as the Football Association penalises clubs that transgress so the order should be made to fine lodges who hire paramilitaries masquearading as bands and who breach Parades Commission rulings. The executive will never agree to this. However, the Public Processions Act 1998 is Westminister can amend overnight. It’s long past time to stop concentrating efforts to regulate Orange marches on criminal sanctions for policing their routes and behaviour. The only way to proceed is to cripple the order financially if they refuse to behave decently and lawfully. Hurting the clubs was the way football thuggery was brought to heel. For a start there should be a review of conditions for all goverenment grants and certainly of any EU money promised to the Orange Order. They cannot continue to receive public money yet tell their members to disobey the law, encourage them onto the streets and then collect the next trance of cash after their antics have cost millions of pounds.

With many thanks to : Brian Feeny, The Irish News.

DUP: DODDS WAS NOT TARGET

THE DUP has denied suggestions that North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds was targeted deliberately by loyalists during disturbances on the Twelfth.

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Mr Dodds was knocked unconscious on Friday night by a brick thrown during riots on Woodvale Road. Violence erupted following a Parades Commission ruling that banned a return Orange Order parade along Crumlin Road. It is understood the same brick that hit Mr Dodds also struck Orange Order deputy county grand master for Belfast Spencer Beattie. A DUP source said the North Belfast MP was making a good recovery and was likely to return to his political duties later this week. On Monday a statement from the Orange Order referred to Friday night’s trouble. “Orangemen and polititicians tried to calm the situation down and we pay tribute to Nigel Dodds, local politicians and other partners from the Belfast Parades forum – not only for their work at this protest but also at several other times throughout the day,” it read.

With many thanks to : John ManleyThe Irish News.