Leo Varadkar to inspect US-Canadian customs arrangements

Spokesman denies Canadian trip means Government accepts hard Border with North

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will attend the Montreal Pride Parade. Photograph: Peter Morrison/PA Wire

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will attend the Montreal Pride Parade. Photograph: Peter Morrison/PA Wire

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will inspect how customs checks operate between the US and Canada next week.

Mr Varadkar, who arrives in Canada at the weekend, will also take part in the Montreal Pride festival with Canadian prime pinister Justin Trudeau.

A Government statement said Mr Varadkar will also use the trip to “be briefed on customs arrangements at the US-Canadian border”.

It will follow on from the publication this week of British government position papers on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The US-Canadian border has been used by those who support Brexit as an example of how the Irish Border could operate.

A spokesman for Mr Varadkar, however, said his visit to the US-Canadian border does not mean Ireland is willing to accept a similar arrangement and said the Taoiseach’s position is clear that he does not want an economic border on the island of Ireland.

“In Toronto, the Taoiseach will carry out a number of engagements focused on growing trade opportunities between Ireland and Canada,” a Government statement said. “This will include addressing the Ireland Canada Chambers of Commerce and a series of meetings with IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Tourism Ireland client companies and representatives.

“The Taoiseach will turn the sod on a new park in Toronto in memory of Dr George Robert Grasett, who tended to Irish famine victims on their arrival in Canada in the late 1840s. He will also be briefed on customs arrangements at the US-Canadian border.

“On invitation of the Canadian prime minister, the Taoiseach will also join Mr Trudeau at the Montreal Pride Parade.”