Poots: Ireland will “starve” North of food and medicine

The new DUP leader also condemned the behaviour of Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney.

Edwin Poots has launched a blistering attack on two of his colleagues south of the border, describing his relationship with Dublin as “really, really bad”.

Speaking to a group of supporters after his ratification as DUP leader last night, the former Agriculture Minister took issue with how Varadkar and Coveney allegedly conducted business during 2018 Brexit negotiations.

Referring to a 2018 European council meeting in Brussels, Poots said that Varadkar provocatively brought an Irish Times story to the table, in which the paper recounted a 1972 IRA bombing of a border customs post, killing nine people.

While Poots said he “would have respect for Micheal Martin”, he did not hold back in his assessment of Varadkar and Coveney.

“But I have to say that for Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney, who took photographs of blown up border posts to impose upon Northern Ireland people the harshest form of customs and an internal market that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world, that was quite frankly disgraceful,” he insisted.

The 56 year-old Lisburn man doubled down on his remarks by claiming Irish politicians intended to use the Brexit agreement to starve Northern Ireland of food and medicines.

“They are going to starve Northern Ireland people of medicines no less, cancer drugs and other materials, such as the food that’s on our table,” Poots claimed.

“And I say that’s a shame on the Irish government that they did that, and that belongs to Fine Gael, under the leadership of Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney.

“So relationships are really, really bad with the Irish government as a consequence.”

The newly-elected leader said contact would soon be made however with the Irish government following his formal ratification by the party’s Executive in Belfast last night.

Arlene Foster, Jeffrey Donaldson, Diane Dodds and Gareth Robinson were among others to walk out of the meeting before Poots’ speech.

Ian Paisley Jr told reporters that whilst “leadership transfer hurts”, the party would be honest about any issues and seek to resolve them.

The North Antrim MP said that his father’s ousting as leader has indeed caused his death at the age of 88 in 2014.

“If anyone in this party can talk about difficulty, it’s me, you saw what happened to my dad, it killed my father,” Mr Paisley said.

“I know it hurts and leadership transfer hurts, but you know something, we have to get over that, keep on working as a party and we will make it work for our country because we are the only party that can save the union, retain the union and build the union.”

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