Irish Government will hold UK to border commitments – Varadkar

The Irish Government will hold the UK Government to its commitments to ensure free movement of people and trade post-Brexit, the country’s premier has said.

Leo Varadkar said talks had been taking place “at official level” with the European Commission discussing contingency plans in the event of the UK crashing out of the EU.

But, the Taoiseach said nobody could say for sure what would happen to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland in such a scenario.

“The truth is nobody can say for sure because a lot of it will depend on what approach the UK Government takes,” he said.

Mr Varadkar made the remarks in the Dail parliament in Dublin as Brexit chaos continued in Westminster.

When pressed by the opposition to outline how the border would be managed if the UK leaves the EU without a deal Mr Varadkar said: “We will hold the UK Government to its existing commitments – its commitments in the Good Friday Agreement to ensure free movement of people and free trade north and south, its commitments made in 2017 to maintain full regulatory alignment.”

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin asked Mr Varadkar to give an honest answer to his question of what would happen with the border in a no-deal scenario.

But Mr Varadkar said there was “nothing to share”.

He described the talks with the European Commission as preliminary discussions.

“There’s no papers and no documents,” he said.