EU agriculture commissioner: No border ‘under any circumstances’

Phil Hogan, centre, helps launch the Kerry Way walking route app at Muckross School House, Killarney. Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan

EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan has insisted there will be no hard border in Ireland “under any circumstances” even if Britain crashes out of the EU next Friday.

Mr Hogan said he did not believe a border will be erected between the Republic and Northern Ireland in a worst-case crash-out Brexit despite growing fears the reality could hit in just six days’ time.

Mr Hogan, in Kerry yesterday, said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel show the EU is “wearing the green jersey” and that will not change.

Mr Hogan side-stepped questions on what plans Ireland has if there is a no-deal Brexit. He insisted that even if it happens, a hard border will not be imposed “under any circumstances”.

Mr Hogan said there is still time before the EU summit in Brussels on Wednesday night for prime minister Theresa May and the EU to come to an agreement, saying “a lot can happen between now and next Wednesday”.

Asked about rumours of a 12-month Brexit delay, Mr Hogan said people “can speculate on a lot of things between now and next Wednesday”.

The EU agriculture commissioner was on a day-long visit to Kerry alongside Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly at which he attended a number of EU-funded projects.

They included a free Kerry Way walking route smartphone app developed by Béaloideas Chiarraí which identifies areas of interest for walkers in the picturesque county.

Mr Hogan also reviewed a new degree programme in international agricultural engineering at the Institute of Technology in Tralee.

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