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Mon Dec 4, 2017, 03:12 PM

Brexit : Breakdown of potential Brexit Irish border deal


'I was surprised and disappointed' - Taoiseach on breakdown of potential Brexit border deal

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was "both surprised and disappointed" after Brexit talks on the Northern Ireland border failed to reach a deal today. A Brexit deal to solve the 'Irish question' was done until a last minute intervention from the DUP, the Irish Government has confirmed.

Hopes were high that the UK would sign off on commitment to maintain regulatory convergence in a post-Brexit era. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he was "surprised" by the UK's request for more time after initially being told an agreement had been reached.


The agreed text between the UK and EU "gave us the assurance we need that even as an unintended consequences there would not be a hard border on the island of Ireland", he said.

However, UK Prime Minister Theresa May was on the verge of formally signing up to the deal but stepped back after a last minute intervention from the DUP.

"It is evident that things broke down during the lunch in the Brussels," Mr Varadkar said. "I am surprised and disappointed that the British government now appears not to be in a position to conclude what was agreed earlier in the day." "We did make substantial progress on a number of issues today," Taoiseach Varadkar continued. "But the most difficult issue is to maintain the agreement that there will not be a hard border on the island of Ireland. "This has been to the absolute forefront of Ireland's concerns since before the referendum.

"We do not want a border in the Irish Sea any more than we want a border between Newry and Dundalk, and Letterkenny and Derry."
The Taoiseach said it would not be useful to start pointing fingers. At the same time he noted that the DUP are "just one party in Northern Ireland". He said the Irish government was representing the attitude taking by the majority of people in the North.

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