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Trump official 'surprised' UK and Ireland have not come up with border solution

Questions: Mick Mulvaney
Questions: Mick Mulvaney

By Staff Reporter

US President Donald Trump's Chief of Staff has said he was "a little surprised" that the UK and Ireland have not yet worked out post-Brexit arrangements for the Irish border.

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Former Congressman Mick Mulvaney (51), who accompanied Mr Trump during his visit to the UK and the Irish Republic last week, said that while the US administration was aware of the controversy around Brexit, "we are not going to solve the problem for you".

"Britain is going to do what Britain is going to do and that is fine with us - we look forward to strengthening the relationship with the mother country as soon as they are out (of the EU)," Mr Mulvaney said.

"But at the same time we wanted to say that it was also important to us to see the successes of the Good Friday Agreement maintained."

Mr Mulvaney added: "We are aware of the Brexit issue. We are aware of the border issue.

"We are aware how they are interwoven and it is in our best interests, I think, to see that resolved as part of that agreement. How you do that is going to be up to you."

The senior official refused to be drawn on Irish hopes the US would make keeping the border status quo a red line in post-Brexit trade negotiations with the UK.

"We are going to work with everybody," he said.

"These are two of our closest friends in the whole world.

"We are not going to try and pit one against the other.

"We know it's important. It's important to the British as well. It's important in the north, it's important here (in the Republic of Ireland) - frankly, we're a little surprised that it hasn't been able to get worked out yet.

"It makes you wonder if people use the issue to distract from other issues ... we are interested in seeing things remaining peaceful, calm and productive."

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