UKIP politician calls for the immediate deployment of British troops in Northern Ireland

David McNarry, chairman of the Northern Irish party chapter, said jihadists will use the Republic as a backdoor into the UK

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Former Ulster Unionist David McNarry (left) stands with Ukip leader Nigel Farage, at Parliament Buildings in Stormont, Belfast [Paul Faith / PA Archive/Press Association Images]

Regardless of whether British voters decide to exit the European Union in the forthcoming referendum, the country’s army should be deployed to man the Northern Ireland border with immediate effect to protect the UK from an invasion of illegal immigrants using the Republic as a backdoor, a UKIP politician has said.

David McNarry, chairman of the right-leaning Northern Irish chapter of the Nigel Farage-led party, said that armed soldiers are needed to man patrols along the border between the two countries. Warning that Ireland would be used as a launch pad for “people who wish to harm us,” the 500-km line running between the two sovereign states would need to be protected for the preservation of Britain’s safety.

Citing the low population density of the western part of the Republic, McNarry, a former MLA in Stormont, said terrorists could infiltrate the UK by gaining access via the Atlantic, crossing into Northern Ireland and taking a ferry to Scotland.

A pre-emptive deployment of armed soldier was the only logical response to the potential threat of the only land entrance into the UK from the EU, as Islamic jihadists would follow the IRA’s lead in crisscrossing the invisible line.

Speaking to the Express, McNarry said: “I see a porous border as a national security threat. We have almost erased our border in terms of drawing a line but everyone is so laid back about it.

“What is scary is that it is the UK’s only land border. Cameron needs to spell out to the people of the UK how they will be protected from smugglers, drug dealers and people traffickers.”

Pushing the British prime minister to send troops back the Northern Ireland ahead of what he expects will be a victory for the ‘Opt Out’ campaign next June, McNarry added: “I support patrols, active patrols. We need to have the Army asserting our sovereignty.

It’s a hell of a job to ask anybody to do but if you leave it then it’s wide open for migration, for the clever traffickers, for the criminals. They need to see that we’re here and we’ll do everything we can to stop people who wish us harm crossing the border.”

The former MLA’s comments are likely to receive a backlash in nationalist communities in Northern Ireland, who may perceive the deployment of British troops as a regressive move in the continuation of the peace process. British military activity in the six counties during the Troubles has been linked to the deaths of 363 people, including 187 civilians.

Last month, the David McNarry also claimed that retired members of the IRA were working with agents of the Islamic State to train them in the manufacture of car bombs ahead of a widespread campaign of terror across the United Kingdom.

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