News | 1 month ago

The Taoiseach was happy with the parameters set out by Monday's agreement on Phase 1 of Brexit.

Speaking on Friday morning, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar cut an optimistic figure as he confirmed that no physical infrastructure or border checks would be in place between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

"First of all, the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts is protected," he said.

"Secondly everyone born in Northern Ireland will continue to have the right to Irish - and therefore EU - citizenship... third, the Common Travel Area will continue, allowing us to travel freely between Britain and Ireland.

"British and Irish citizens will continue to have the freedom to live, work, study, access housing, healthcare pensions and welfare in each other's countries as if we were citizens of both."

On the border, he added: "There will be no physical infrastructure or related checks or controls."

Varadkar insisted the "Northern Ireland and Great Britain will not drift apart" and said that his ultimate hope is for a "deep and comprehensive agreement between the EU and the UK in its entirety" but that today's announcement that there will be no hard border represents a good deal for Ireland.

"Our preferred option is, of course, a deep and comprehensive agreement between the EU and the UK in its entirety - which will allow us to trade as we do now," he said.

"However that might not be possible - so there is a backstop arrangement in place in which Northern Ireland, and perhaps all of the United Kingdom, will maintain full alignment with the rules of the internal market and customs union which are relevant to the avoidance of a border, North-South cooperation and the all-island economy.

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"Sixth, people and businesses in Northern Ireland are being given the additional assurance that the United Kingdom government will ensure that Northern Ireland business will continue to have unfettered access to the whole of the UK, and that no new barriers will develop between Northern Ireland and Great Britain unless the Northern Ireland executive and assembly agree to it.

"Northern Ireland and Great Britain will not drift apart."

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