#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 15 June 2021

Taoiseach says it would have been a sign of 'bad faith' had Johnson not distanced himself from Brexit non-papers

The Taoiseach’s comments come after reports that the UK’s proposal to replace the backstop is a series of customs posts.

Image: Charles McQuillan

LEO VARADKAR HAS welcomed Boris Johnson distancing himself from the non-paper commitments which mention the replacement of the controversial Irish backstop with a series of customs posts along the border. 

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions, he said had the UK Prime Minister not done so, it would have been seen as a sign of “bad faith” from the UK. 

He told the Dáil that Ireland only ever envisages checks in a no-deal scenario, stating:

“I would ask anyone in the British government who thinks this is in any way a good idea to listen to the people of Northern Ireland… no British government should try to impose a solution upon Ireland which is opposed by the people of Ireland, north and south.” 

He added that “there will be checks at the ports, at the airports, perhaps at business level, perhaps near the border too and that’s just the reality of the situation but that is in the context of no deal”. 

Varadkar said he had not seen the non-papers, which suggest creating a set of customs posts along both sides of the Irish border, adding that he was aware of the papers existence. 

The Taoiseach said he did not discuss any details on what was contained in the non-papers during meetings with Johnson in recent weeks. 

He said if the alternatives from the UK are similar to what was contained in the non-papers, then “it looks very like a hard border to me”. 

Following reports of the leaked papers, Johnson called for Brussels, Dublin and Berlin to work with him on the “good solution” the UK will be formally setting out.


Johnson’s comments come after Irish political leaders rejected proposals for customs posts along both sides of the Irish border to replace the backstop.

Coveney described the so-called “non-paper” as a “non-starter” and said it was time the European Union had “a serious proposal” from the UK government if a deal was to be achieved before the 31 October deadline. 

The Tánaiste added that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland “deserves better”.

Other political party leaders have also firmly rejected the proposals, with Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald accusing Johnson of “playing chicken” with the EU. 

The Taoiseach called on Britain to honour the promises made in relation to there being no border checks in Northern Ireland.  

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel