Farage claims Ireland is afraid to speak up for good Brexit deal

The MEP has hit out at the ‘contemptible’ EU for a united Ireland deal

Farage claims Ireland is afraid to speak up for good Brexit deal

File photo of Nigel Farage | Image: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/PA Images

British MEP Nigel Farage has claimed the Irish Government are "desperate" for a good deal between Britain and Brussels - but afraid to say so.

It comes after the former UKIP leader criticized the European Union for using Ireland to make Brexit negotiations difficult.

During a segment on his LBC radio show in London, he hit out at the EU for blocking a deal for rights of British citizens living abroad and vice-versa.

"They’re asking for a fortune, they’re trying to stop us reaching out to speak to other parts of the world, they want us after we’ve left to maintain all their rules, they’ve effectively given the Spanish a veto over Gibraltar."

Mr Farage then moved on to the prospect of a united Ireland, saying: "And worst of all in my opinion – worst of all – the EU have indicated that if Northern Ireland would opt to leave the United Kingdom and join up with Éire, there would be absolutely no problem in a new united Ireland virtually automatically becoming a member of the European Union.

"So what they are doing to try to make Brexit negotiations difficult for this government is they are prepared to stoke Irish nationalism and all that could come with that.

"I have to say, I think that perhaps is the most contemptible thing that I’ve heard so far".

The issue of a united Ireland becoming a member of the EU was approved the European Council last week.

It acknowledged that in the event of a united Ireland, brought about in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement, the entire territory would legally be part of the European Union.

Source: Irish Government

This was also referenced in Irish Government guidelines, published Tuesday.

The process could follow the example of German reunification in 1990 – which saw East Germany automatically welcomed into the bloc.

Speaking to Newstalk Drive, Mr Farage explained: "What they are doing is they are appealing directly to Irish nationalists in the North, despite the Good Friday Agreement, despite 19 years of actually very, very good progress I think from all perspectives - and they’re stoking the fires of nationalism, and I think it’s highly irresponsible."

He also said it is in Ireland’s own interest to see Britain get a good Brexit deal with Brussels.

 "Most of the Irish farming industry couldn’t survive without the UK market...the barrier is the European Union who want to put punitive tariffs on Britain doing business with the rest of the European Union, and that will hurt Ireland.

"It’s about time Enda Kenny spoke out for national interests in Ireland, and not the interests of Brussels."

"The only thing that will give us a hard border between the North and South is tariffs on goods, products and services moving from North to South – so from every perspective it is in Ireland’s national interest to make sure that a sensible deal is done with the United Kingdom".

He went one step further, adding: "I suspect that in private, the Irish Government are desperate for there to be a sensible deal with the United Kingdom – but they dare not so say in public for fear of offending their Brussels masters".

On the issue of reports Britain may have to pay before leaving the bloc, Mr Farage replied: "The way we’re being treated by this Brussels club is as if we’re a hostage; they’re demanding a ransom for us.

"You know what? We are no hostages, we are a free people and if it comes to it, we’ll walk away without paying a single penny piece".