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Europe reluctant to grant a fresh extension to Brexit departure: Varadkar

Extension: Leo Varadkar says EU is frustrated about Brexit delays
Extension: Leo Varadkar says EU is frustrated about Brexit delays

By Michelle Devane

There would be a "great deal of reluctance" amongst European leaders to grant the UK another Brexit extension, the Taoiseach has warned.

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Leo Varadkar said a lot of European countries had become very frustrated at the rolling extensions in the Brexit process, but he did not rule out the possibility entirely.

Mr Varadkar said: "There would be a great deal of reluctance among European prime ministers to grant another extension beyond October 31.

"We certainly wouldn't rule it out, and from Ireland's point of view we'd be as facilitative to the UK as is possible, but I think a lot of other countries have become very frustrated at these rolling extensions so if there was another extension it would have to be for a particular reason."

Mr Varadkar said that purpose could not be for renegotiations, nor for new indicative votes.

"It would be in the context perhaps if there were to be a general election in the UK.

"It would have to be a very good reason," he said, speaking from Dublin Castle.

The Irish government will publish an updated Brexit preparedness plan today in anticipation of the UK's scheduled withdrawal from the EU on October 31.

The Taoiseach said the preparations did not include any infrastructure at the Irish border.

"The absolute red line for us is, and always has been, that we have to have a legally operable, legally binding, assurance that whatever else may happen as a consequence of Brexit, the re-emergence of a hard border between north and south won't be one thing," the Taoiseach added.

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