DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds MP has said the suggestion by the Republic of Ireland that troops would be back on the border did not hold water and the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar should take steps to quell border fears.

Mr Dodds said, 

“Whether it is threats of the Belfast Agreement being undermined or the future need for troops on the border, a lot of hot air has been produced by Dublin.  With weeks to go until the UK leaves the EU, it's time for Dublin to ease back on rhetoric and engage constructively with their counterparts.  

Rather than protect the Belfast Agreement, the backstop drives a coach and horses through it.  The backstop completely ignores the views of those who want to protect the Union.  A new border east-west is no more acceptable than a new border north-south.  The backstop is the problem.

It is incredibly disappointing, at this critical time, that the Irish Foreign Minister and the Irish Prime Minister use incendiary language.  Leo Varadkar knows fine well that talk of troops being back on the border is provocative. 

If the Taoiseach misspoke in Davos, he should move to clarify the matter immediately. 

By talking about troops on the border, Leo Varadkar is being as irresponsible as those building wooden customs huts, dressing actors in trench coats and smashing concrete brick walls on the border. Such amateur dramatics do nothing to make progress and only play on people's fears. It's complete and utter nonsense. 

People living on the border are genuinely concerned about what that frontier will look like in the future.  We all know troops will not be back on the border.  Failure to clarify will lead many to conclude that Leo Varadkar’s comment was a deliberate escalation to win support on the international stage.  Border communities should not be exploited in that manner. 

The EU, London and Dublin have said that there will be no return to the borders of the past.  It's time to bring clarity to these matters and stop playing on people’s fears.”

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