Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach Varadkar 'still hoping Britain will reverse Brexit decision'

By Staff Reporter

The Republic's prime minister has reiterated his hope the UK will U-turn on Brexit and remain within the European Union.

Leo Varadkar was speaking after a senator from his party said the DUP should stop 'whinging' about the Irish government's post-Brexit border stance.

Mr Varadkar insisted that the best outcome for the Republic, Northern Ireland and Britain would be to stay in the customs union and the single EU market.

During a jobs announcement in Waterford, when asked by reporters if he thought there was any possibility of Brexit not going ahead, he said: "Well, I still hope that it won't happen."

The Taoiseach added that Brexit "is a British policy, not an Irish one".

"When it comes to my work in Brussels, working with other European prime ministers and presidents, it's part of my remit to keep the door open, not just to the European Union, but also to the single market and also to the customs union, should they decide to go down that route," he said.

"That, I think, would be the best outcome for Ireland and Northern Ireland and Britain."

Relations between Dublin and the DUP have soured over the issue of a post-Brexit border.

The party was told yesterday to stop complaining about the border and instead focus on re-establishing the Stormont Executive and Brexit discussions.

Fine Gael senator Neale Richmond said: "The DUP's whinging doesn't hide their political impotence.

"They would be far better off seeking to influence their Government partners in Westminster and working to get the Executive back up and running to give Northern Ireland a strong voice."

Mr Richmond was responding to DUP accusations that the Taoiseach was politicking for domestic purposes when he said Ireland would not help Britain design an economic border for Brexiteers.

Mr Richmond said the Irish government and the EU "cannot be expected to provide all the solutions (in relation to Brexit), especially on areas like a proposed border which run contrary to the aims of the Irish government or indeed the Good Friday Agreement".

He added: "Being a good friend requires one to be honest. In the Brexit debate, Ireland is the best friend the UK has."

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