Simon Coveney leads condemnation of Rees-Mogg border comments
THE Irish government has led condemnation of leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg after he suggested border inspections similar to those during the Troubles could be used after Brexit.
In a video clip posted online from what appears to be a town hall-style discussion, the Tory MP said the UK could continue with "historic arrangements" to avoid illegal travel into the north.
"There would be our ability, as we had during the Troubles, to have people inspected,” he said.
"It's not a border that everyone has to go through every day. But of course for security reasons during the Troubles, we kept a very close eye on the border to try and stop gun-running and things like that."
During the Troubles it was common for long delays at British army checkpoints and the Brexit vote has sparked widespread fears of a return to a 'hard border'.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney later tweeted: "It's hard to believe that a senior politician is so ill-informed about Ireland and the politics of the Brexit Irish border issue that he could make comments like these.
"We have left 'The Troubles' behind us, through the sincere efforts of many, and we intend on keeping it that way."
SDLP MLA Claire Hanna branded the remarks “pig ignorant”.
"It is offensive that a senior politician would use the 'Troubles' as benchmark for solving the border issue,” she said.
“This unguarded answer exposes how empty all the honeyed phrases about not returning to ‘the borders of the past' over the last two years really are.”
Sinn Féin MLA Mairtin Ó Muilleoir said "Jacob Rees-Mogg and the Tory Brexiteers have again shown contempt and a complete disregard for the people of Ireland north and south".
“Anyone labouring under the misapprehension that the Tories care a jot about the north is living in a fool's paradise."
Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie also said the "rhetoric of @Jacob_Rees_Mogg is dangerous as is perpetuating this as a post Brexit outcome", while Alliance leader Naomi Long prime minister Theresa May should "get a grip on this reckless and dangerous rhetoric".