DUP leader Arlene Foster is coming to Dublin to meet Leo Varadkar and Michael Martin. She should be told in the clearest possible terms that she will not be getting a hard border.
Foster has demanded that no special arrangements are created for the North. This, she asserts, is a ‘blood red line’ issue.
She does not care if there is no deal between the EU and Britain. She does not care if there is huge economic disruption if there is no deal. For the DUP, the only question is, as always, the preservation of partition. A columnist in the Guardian newspaper summed up where they stand.
‘Foster’s Unionists see a more elemental danger on the horizon: namely that Northern Ireland, detached from the UK and still in the single market, will slowly become, in practice, part of a mostly unified Ireland.’
Foster is up to her neck in the Renewable Heating Incentives scandal whereby money was doled out to DUP supporters in a blatant scam. The relatives of her special adviser, for example, had 11 boilers in the scheme.
It suits her now to increase the rhetoric about the Union and to warn against any special arrangements for the North.
Yet the majority of people in the North – both Catholic and Protestant – voted to Remain. It is a matter of elementary democracy that they get the arrangements that suit them. That includes no hard border.
In order to ensure that happens, People Before Profit is demanding a vote in the North on any final settlement between Britain and the EU.
We also believe that the Irish government should also be putting the matter to a referendum. It should be telling the EU that it will not sign up to any deal until its people are satisfied. This will help to ensure that there is no backsliding in the final months of this end game.
In the meantime, Foster needs to hear a strong message, loud and clear. There will be no customs posts or checks on the border and that any attempt to erect them will be met by a ‘people power’ movement to tear them down.