Leo Varadkar praises Theresa May’s ‘significant’ comments on Border

Taoiseach responds after British PM calls for actions to avoid hard Border post-Brexit

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has praised British prime minister Theresa May’s latest comments on the Irish Border. File photograph: Tom Honan/PA Wire

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has praised British prime minister Theresa May’s latest comments on the Irish Border. File photograph: Tom Honan/PA Wire

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said British prime minister Theresa May’s acceptance that ensuring a seamless Irish Border post-Brexit needed to involve more than warm words was helpful.

The Taoiseach made the comments on Sunday, the first day of his week-long trip to Africa, after an interview Mrs May gave on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

During the interview, the British prime minister stated that solid action was required to avoid a hard Border after the UK leaves the EU in March.

Mr Varadkar described Mrs May’s comments as significant.

“One thing the prime minister said today which I think is very valid, and I hope will be listened to, is avoiding a hard Border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is not just the case of people saying they don’t want one,” said Mr Varadkar.

“It is also necessary to give practical and legal effect to that.

“That means agreeing the same customs rules and full regulatory alignment. That is what is required to avoid a hard Border.

“We need more than good intent and warm words. We need a treaty that can give effect to the practical considerations.”

Westminster vote

Mrs May faces a crucial ballot this month in the House of Commons, when MPs vote on whether to accept the UK’s withdrawal agreement with the EU.

Mr Varadkar on Sunday dismissed the idea of the Republic as having any role as a persuader in the debate preceding the vote.

“Ultimately the vote and decision by the British parliament at Westminster is a decision for them. You have to weigh up on the one hand our desire to see it [the withdrawal deal] ratified with the possibility that that could backfire if we were trying to tell another parliament, another country, how they should vote.”

Mr Varadkar was speaking in Mali, where he met Irish troops who are currently serving with the EU training force in the country.

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