Former Irish PM brands Boris Johnson a 'buffoon' who will 'ruin Ireland' over Brexit

Posted On: 
22nd June 2018

Former Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern has branded Boris Johnson a "buffoon" whose Brexit demands would ruin Britain and Ireland.

Bertie Ahern urged Theresa May to stand up to Boris Johnson
PA Images

The ex-Taoiseach namechecked the Foreign Secretary as he called on Theresa May to either stand up to those in the Tory party pushing for a hard Brexit, or risk being brought down as Prime Minister.

"If she has 350 members and 70 of them are rebels, something you have to say, what do we do with the 280, and she has to do that," he told the Meath Chronicle.

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"If she keeps going from crisis to crisis, and listening to that buffoon, Boris - he’ll ruin us, never mind ruin them - she has to face up to that. If she doesn't she can't survive."

The former Fianna Fáil leader urged current Irish leader Leo Varadkar to press for as much agreement as possible on Brexit at the upcoming EU summit - or face being outmanoeuvred when the deal is finally presented in October.

"I’m not saying we can finish it all by June, but if we are to drag it out until the end, the British could come in the last few days with their €50 billion cheque and say: ‘We’re going to do this and we’re going to do that, and going to do the other’.

"And they’ll say to the French and the Germans who are making the running on this, we’ve given the Irish a lot, now is the time for the Irish to move, and the pressure will come back on us."

He said talks over the border had so far left both sides with "nothing", pinning the blame on Britain for dismissing solutions which had been put forward.

"We had a deal on 15th December which people believed was cast iron. By 15th March it was a ‘ridiculous deal which no British prime minister could implement’.

"Now it’s a backstop if nothing else. They have no intention of doing that," he said.

"We have been dragged through the December summit with little or nothing. Then there was the March summit, and what have we got and now when she couldn’t get the customs partnership through, she’s looking at another thing."

Mr Ahern, who served as Taoiseach at the time of the Good Friday Agreement, also batted away "ridiculous" calls for a poll on Irish reunification following predictions of a nationalist majority in Northern Ireland by 2021.

"It wouldn't get you to Christmas… A waste of space, and those who are suggesting it are being highly responsible and should stop," he told the paper.

"The only way it would work is when the nationalist and republican communities and a 'reasonable' share of the loyalist and unionist people want it – but with the unionists and loyalists totally opposed, it is ridiculous.

"The only united Ireland will be a negotiated one – and it won't happen in my lifetime."