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'We're not going to help the UK come up with a border solution' - Varadkar

“We’re not going to be helping them to design some sort of border that we don’t believe should exist in the first place.”

Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that Ireland will not participate in any British plans to solve the post-Brexit border issue.

He was responding to reported proposals to move the border to the Irish Sea.

Speaking to journalists today, Varadkar said that he and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney were “on the same page” on the issue.

Varadkar said that it was up to the UK to put forward solutions for the handling of the border between north and south in a post-Brexit world.

“Currently there is no economic border. There hasn’t been an economic border since 1992. As far as this government is concerned there shouldn’t be an economic border. We don’t want one,” he said.

“It’s the United Kingdom, it’s Britain that has decided to leave and if they want to put forward smart solutions, technological solutions for borders of the future and all of that that’s up to them.

“We’re not going to be doing that work for them because we don’t think there should be an economic border at all. That is our position. It’s our position in negotiations with the British Government and it’s the very clear position that we have when we engage with the task force that is negotiating on our behalf with the United Kingdom.”

Varadkar went on to say that the government’s position is that there should be no border, so it will not help in designing one.

We do not think it is in the interests of our country. We do not think it’s in the interests of Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom that there should be an economic border between our two countries or on our island and we’re not going to be helping them to design some sort of border that we don’t believe should exist in the first place.

“So let them put forward their proposals as to how they think a border should operate and then we’ll ask them if they really think this is such a good idea because I think it will have a very severe impact on their economy if they decide to go down that route.”

DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr said that Varadkar’s stance was “cutting off his nose to spite his face”.

Fianna Fáil’s Stephen Donnelly backed the Taoiseach, saying that his party has been calling for this solution.

“The solution which Minister Coveney, and now the Taoiseach, has outlined is something which Fianna Fáil has been calling for some time. In February, I along with Micheál Martin and Darragh O’Brien met with the Northern Secretary James Brokenshire and outlined to him that a frictionless border simply wouldn’t work and the border between Ireland and the UK should be the Irish Sea.

“It is important that we have an honest conversation with our UK neighbours, and despite coming late to the table on this issue, I am relieved that the Government now appears willing to start that conversation.”

Read: Bertie Ahern: Ireland leaving the EU would be an ‘act of insanity’

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