Ireland has open mind on Huawei security concerns raised by US, Varadkar says

Ireland is keeping an “open mind” on security concerns raised by the US about the Huawei telecoms giant, the Taoiseach has said.

The issue was raised briefly as Leo Varadkar and Donald Trump spoke ahead of their bilateral meeting in Shannon Airport.

The president has urged US allies to prevent the firm from playing a role in the roll-out of 5G networks because of concerns in Washington – strongly denied by the company – about a security risk because of links to the Chinese government.

Mr Trump was asked about his concerns on the first day of his Irish visit. He already discussed Huawei with Prime Minister Theresa May during his state visit to the UK.

“We deal very closely, as you know, with your intelligence and your security, we are working on that together,” the president said at Shannon Airport.

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“I know you’re concerned, we’re concerned, we are all concerned about it.”

He added: “We are working on it together, very much with not only Europe but with Ireland.”

Mr Varadkar also expressed his concerns.

“That’s something that the Irish Government is concerned about as well, we have been offered some further briefings/information from the US side just to give us a security briefing on that,” he said.

The Taoiseach was asked about the issue again after the meeting with Mr Trump had concluded.

He told reporters it was not raised during their bilateral exchanges, adding:

“We’re looking at that at the moment, we are analysing the situation.

“We have an open mind on it and will do our own national assessment and also work with our European partners as well.”