Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Border Region Development Brendan Smith TD has spoken of his regret at the comments of DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds who questioned the right of representatives from the Republic of Ireland to offer a view on the Brexit debate. He described them as ‘a regrettable throwback to a time of cross border insults and groundless suspicion’.
Deputy Smith commented, “Whether Nigel Dodds likes it or not, the issue of Brexit is one that involves and affects all the people of this island. Cross border trade, not to mention key industries like agriculture and tourism, rely hugely on the fact that both jurisdictions on the island are members of the European Union. The prospect of the North being withdrawn from that Union is a huge strategic issue for the entire island and it is one that people in the Republic of Ireland will have strong views on.
“Nigel Dodds’ contribution to the debate is regrettable, representing as it does a throwback to a time of cross border insults and groundless suspicion. Mr Dodds suggests that people from outside Northern Ireland who express an opinion on the question of Brexit are being disrespectful. I would reject that view and I would ask Mr Dodds himself to respect the fact that when people from the Republic of Ireland offer their view on this fundamental question, they are motivated by a genuine concern about the future of our businesses and relationships on the island. I would also suggest to him that no debate ever suffered from the presence of differing points of view. It is when voices begin to be excluded based on the sole fact of where they are from, that problems begin to develop.”