Irish PM: I won’t help design Brexiteer border
Ireland will not help Brexiteers design a hard border between itself and the rest of the UK, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.
The Times reported yesterday that Mr Varadkar wants customs and immigration checks to be carried out in ports and airports, effectively creating a sea border between the island of Ireland and Great Britain. The Irish government denied the report, and chancellor Philip Hammond said that a sea border was “not acceptable”.
Speaking later, Mr Varadkar said that the country did not want any kind of "economic border" with Northern Ireland and called on UK politicians to come up with their own solution to the problem.
He rejected suggestions that technological solutions, such as tagging of goods and vehicles, would maintain a soft border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Brexit Secretary David Davis has suggested technological measures could resolve the issue.
“As far as this government is concerned, there shouldn’t be an economic border. We don’t want one. It’s the United Kingdom, it’s Britain that has decided to leave and if they want to put forward smart solutions, technological solutions for borders of the future and all of that, that’s up to them.
"What we are not going to do is design a border for the Brexiteers. They are the ones who want a border, it is up to them to say what it is, to say how it would work and to convince their own people, their own voters, that this is a good idea."
Signalling his frustration with UK politicians’ views on the Irish border, Mr Varadkar rejected the suggested that his position would be met with anger.
“It is the British and the Brexiteers who are leaving, so if anyone should be angry it’s us quite frankly,” he said. "But we are not going to get angry. We are going to try and find solutions or at least minimise the damage to relations between Britain and Ireland, to the peace process and to trading links.
“We’re not going to be helping them to design some sort of border that we don’t believe should exist in the first place. So let them put forward their proposals as to how they think a border should operate and then we’ll ask them if they really think this is such a good idea, because I think it will have a very severe impact on their economy if they decide to go down that route.”