Sinn Féin MEP tells Theresa May Brexit border checks in Ireland can go ‘where the sun don't shine’
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Sinn Féin MEP tells Theresa May Brexit border checks in Ireland can go ‘where the sun don't shine’

SINN Féin MEP Martina Anderson has told British Prime Minister Theresa May Irish border checks after Brexit can go ‘where the sun doesn’t shine.’

Ms Anderson told the European Parliament: "Theresa, your notion of a border, hard and soft, stick it where the sun doesn't shine 'cos you're not putting it in Ireland."

The DUP were quick to criticise Ms Anderson for her “offensive” comments, which came in the wake of calls made by Sinn Féin leader Michelle O’Neill for a referendum on Northern Ireland leaving the UK.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson told BBC Radio Ulster: "Martina Anderson was ranting like a fishwife. I would imagine that was far more offensive than anything Arlene Foster said."

Mr Wilson was referring to DUP leader Foster comparing Sinn Féin to a crocodile recently.

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In a statement last night, Sinn Féin defended Ms Anderson’s remarks.

“The prospect of Brexit has caused widespread concern across Ireland, north and south,” the party said.

“The comments in the European Parliament in Strasbourg were reflective of the anger that the north could be dragged out of Europe by someone who has no mandate in Ireland.”

The row is just the latest in a number of disputes between Irish republicans and the British Government since the Brexit vote.

In January, the Northern Ireland’s power-sharing agreement collapsed and a snap election was called for early March.

In that election, Sinn Féin made gains and now hold 27 seats in the Assembly, just one behind the DUP.

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On Monday, Sinn Féin's leader in the north, Michelle O'Neill, said there was an urgent need for a referendum on Irish unity as the British Government had "refused to listen" since the vote in June.

“Brexit will be a disaster for the economy, and a disaster for the people of Ireland,” Ms O’Neill said in a statement on Monday.

Ms O’Neill’s statement came the same day as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she will seek a second Scottish independence referendum since 2014.

Like Scotland, Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU with 56 per cent of voters electing to remain last June.

Michelle O'Neill replaced Martin McGuinness as Sinn Fein's leader in the Northern Ireland Assembly back in January.

Her comments have prompted a reaction from British Prime Minister Theresa May, who said the time wasn’t right for an Irish border poll.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Mrs May said: “What we should all be focusing on is bringing the parties together to ensure that we can continue to see the devolved administration in Northern Ireland working in the interests of the people.”

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Talks between Sinn Féin and the DUP are continuing in hopes that the power-sharing agreement can be restored in Northern Ireland.

The parties are half-way through the three-week period they have to form a new executive.