Belfast Telegraph

Irish premier reveals plans to ‘try to get deal’ at summit meeting with PM

Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar will both be attending the upcoming UN Climate Action Summit in New York.

Irish Premier Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are due to attend the upcoming UN Climate Action Summit in New York (Liam McBurney/PA)
Irish Premier Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are due to attend the upcoming UN Climate Action Summit in New York (Liam McBurney/PA)

By Aine McMahon PA

Irish premier Leo Varadkar says he will try to get a deal on Brexit when he meets Boris Johnson in New York next week.

“We were in touch today. I’m going to meet him next week in New York and try to get a deal,” he said.

The leaders will both be attending the UN Climate Action Summit.

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Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson met recently in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Last week in Dublin, the pair had their first meeting since Mr Johnson became Prime Minister in July.

Their discussions were described as positive but the British government has yet to provide what the EU considers credible, alternative proposals to the backstop.

Mr Varadkar held a 45-minute meeting with the DUP leader Arlene Foster in Dublin on Wednesday where they discussed Brexit and ongoing efforts to restore the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Mrs Foster indicated for the first time on Tuesday that she may be open to a Brexit solution that would involve special arrangements for Northern Ireland.

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Leo Varadkar met with DUP leader Arlene Foster (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Varadkar said that while he was optimistic following the meeting, gaps remained.

Asked about the meeting during a visit on Thursday to the National Ploughing Championships in Co Carlow, he said: “If I were to assess the situation, I would say there is a real willingness to find a deal. Nobody wants no-deal to happen and very few people want no-deal to happen. I am certainly not one of them. No-one wants to be to blame or to be responsible for no-deal.

“The rhetoric has tempered and the mood music is good. There is a lot of energy and a lot of positivity. The difficulty is that when it comes to the substance of the issue that needs to be resolved, the gaps are still very wide and we have no time to lose.”

The two countries that will be worst affected in the event of no-deal are going to be Britain and Ireland Leo Varadkar

He cautioned that some British food products may not be available on Irish shelves if there was a no-deal Brexit.

“Some brands, particularly British brands, may not be available but there will be food on the shelves. People don’t need to be concerned about that,” he said.

“The two countries that will be worst affected in the event of no-deal are going to be Britain and Ireland.

“Most countries on the continent are barely affected at all so it is in the interests of the United Kingdom to put forward proposals that allow them to leave the EU in an orderly fashion that minimises damage to their country, economy and ours.”

PA

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