Belfast Telegraph

UK election result presents opportunity for Ireland, says Leo Varadkar

Ireland's prime minister-elect has declared the UK General Election as an opportunity for the Republic.

Leo Varadkar, who is due to be formally voted in as Taoiseach next week, claimed Theresa May's failure to get a majority showed there is no strong support for a hard Brexit.

"The Irish Government is ready to participate in negotiations on Brexit and to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland," he said.

"We must ensure that the Brexit talks are handled in a smooth and coherent manner to secure the best possible outcome for Ireland, for Europe and the UK.

"The results of the UK election indicate to me that there is no strong mandate to proceed with a hard Brexit, which represents an opportunity for Ireland."

Mr Varadkar said another priority is the early restoration of the Stormont Executive in Northern Ireland.

"There is now a strong opportunity for the parties in Northern Ireland to re-engage in discussions to form an executive," he said.

Mr Varadkar became Ireland's presumptive Taoiseach last week after winning the leadership of Fine Gael following Enda Kenny's long-awaited decision to step down after six years at the head of government.

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