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East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has said confirmation from Simon Coveney that there will be no checks on the border whether or not there is an agreement between the EU and UK are a late but welcome acceptance of reality.

The DUP MP said, “Over the last few years, fears have been shamelessly exploited as a negotiating tactic between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

There were scare stories about fences, walls and even Leo Varadkar forecasting that ‘troops could be back on the border’. None of these were ever raised by unionists within Northern Ireland nor anyone within the UK Government. However, the spectre of a ‘hard border’ was repeatedly put forward by the European Union.

Such predictions usually heightened as the deadline for negotiations approached. There was no other reason why Simon Coveney himself raised the prospect for checkpoints in July 2019.

Acceptance by Simon Coveney that there will be no checks on the border is a shamefully belated acceptance of reality. As we approach 31st December, we now need to see the ‘best endeavours’ promised by the European Union to reach agreement on the future relationship.

The final key to success must be a recognition that the principle of consent and links between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom are just as important as the North-South connections which have been so strongly emphasised.”