Irish PM says European Union would insist on hard border without Brexit deal

Irish PM says European Union would insist on hard border without Brexit deal

"I don't think the Irish people will punish Leo Vardkar, he did the best he could do in the best interest of Ireland", Mr Whelan said.

Mr Irwin said NIFDA welcomes the draft withdrawal agreement as a positive development in the ongoing Brexit negotiations, and they would be hopeful that this will enable more substantive talks around a future trading relationship with the EU.

Acknowledging Mrs May has "quite a battle" to get the draft document through the House of Commons, Mr Varadkar said: "She is someone who has shown enormous resilience in the past".

He added that no global negotiation "gives one side everything it wants" but praised the Prime Minister for remaining "true to her word".

Varadkar said he did not see any scope for renegotiating it unless the British government delayed its exit beyond March 29, something it has repeatedly ruled out.

"But that would have to be requested by the UK Government and they have been very clear. that they won't be seeking a delay", he added.

"Obviously if it's defeated in Westminster, it's hard to know where we go from there, as others have said it's maybe hard Brexit or no hard Brexit at all, but that's a decision for the UK Parliament to make".

"I think in a no-deal scenario it would be very difficult to avoid a hard border because of the obvious fact that, Ireland remaining part of the European Union, would no doubt be asked to implement European Union law", Varadkar told reporters in Dublin.

In addition, he emphasized that it was senseless to entertain goodwill keeping the border open.

"Also the United Kingdom having left the European Union would seek to join the World Trade Organisation".

The Irish government has repeatedly warned that physical infrastructure at the border would anger nationalists and could become a target for militants opposed to the peace deal.

As a result of the uncertainty the Irish stock market dropped more than any other main exchange in Western Europe, with Ireland's economy most exposed to the fallout from a no deal Brexit.

He added: "The only way we can avoid a hard border is by an agreement".

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