Northern Ireland

Arlene Foster Irish Sea border criticisms branded a 'bit rich' after former DUP leader's welcome for protocol removed from DUP website

Former first minister Arlene Foster
Former first minister Arlene Foster

A FINE Gael TD has described Arlene Foster's criticisms of the Northern Ireland Protocol as a "bit rich" after he highlighted how the former DUP leader initially welcomed the post-Brexit trade arrangements.

Neale Richmond challenged the DUP to explain why it had deleted Mrs Foster's welcome for the protocol from its website. However, there was no response from the party last night when asked why the item had been removed.

The former DUP leader's statement from Christmas Eve 2020 heralded a "new era in the relationship between the UK and the EU".

Mrs Foster said people in Northern Ireland wanted to "maximise the opportunities the new arrangements provide for our local economy".

However, in the months following her initial welcome, the former first minister's attitude towards the protocol changed – though seemingly not enough to prevent her being ousted as DUP leader.

Mrs Foster had described what had been agreed between the EU and British government as a "sensible trade deal" that was "always the most favourable outcome for Northern Ireland".

Mr Richmond said Brexit had created "many strange and unfortunate behaviours, including revisionist tendencies".

“It is a bit rich to hear former DUP leader Arlene Foster slating the protocol when at the time she had welcomed the deal," he told The Irish News.

“Despite the DUP deleting her statement from the time off their website, the screen grabs and news reports archives are still there."

The Dublin TD urged the British government to negotiate with the EU to resolve its concerns over the protocol.

“Focus instead should be on getting everyone back into the room and working through the challenges and concerns that can be resolved within the protocol," he said.

“The London government’s latest contribution to this sorry process will not help resolve this. Indeed, unilateral action and breaking international law will merely make things worse, for everyone."