Varadkar dismisses claim Irish government is no longer welcome in the North
Leo Varadkar has dismissed allegations by the Loyalist Communities Council that he is no longer welcome in Northern Ireland.
The LCC, a group representing loyalist paramilitary organizations, said Irish ministers and government officials would not be welcome as long as difficulties remained over the Northern Ireland protocol.
But Mr Varadkar rejected the suggestion, saying the LCC does not represent the views of the majority of trade unionists or northerners.
Leo Varadkar has rejected claims by the Council of Loyalist Communities that Irish government ministers are no longer welcome in Northern Ireland. pic.twitter.com/BK71y8xPzy
– James Ward (@newswardie) June 19, 2021
He said: “With the utmost respect to them, I don’t think the Loyalist Community Council decides who is welcome in Northern Ireland and who is not.
“I have always felt welcome in Northern Ireland, I was there last week in County Fermanagh and felt welcome.
“Irish government ministers will continue to visit Northern Ireland to engage with people from all walks of life.
“We are always ready to engage with anyone who is willing to engage with us and that will continue.”
In a statement issued on Friday, the LCC issued a statement urging the DUP to collapse Stormont “to stop the constant flow of concessions to Sinn Fein”.
The coordination group – which represents the views of the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando – also warned that the Irish government would not be welcome in Northern Ireland until it ” repairs the damage it has caused ”.
He said: ‘The continued denials and insulting comments from the Irish government prove how much they have misled European leaders with regard to the views of the people of Northern Ireland and the guarantees for the two communities contained. in the Belfast Agreement.
“Until they accept and repair the damage they have caused, Irish government ministers and officials are no longer welcome in Northern Ireland. “
They have already met former DUP leaders Edwin Poots and Arlene Foster, and some have questioned their level of influence on Northern Irish politics.
However, Mr Varadkar declined to condemn the group on Saturday, saying it was “appropriate” that there was engagement with them.
He said: “I think they represent a group of people, part of the Unionist and Loyalist community. And for that exact reason, I think it’s appropriate that there is some engagement with them.
“In the past, we had to engage with people associated with the Republican paramilitaries.
“It’s something you have to do in politics. But I don’t think for a second that they speak for the majority of trade unionists, or the majority of people in Northern Ireland.
The LCC statement followed Mr Poots’ decision to step down as DUP leader after the party’s internal fury over his decision to appoint a prime minister after Westminster pledged to introduce language legislation Irish.
In a statement released Friday, the LCC expressed its “dismay” at “recent cases of surrender to Sinn Fein blackmail” and the lack of progress in attempts to get rid of the Northern Ireland protocol .
He called on trade unionism to unite to “protest peacefully” against the protocol.
“We call for continued restraint and peaceful demonstrations, even in light of these latest provocative and destabilizing developments,” the statement said.