I still hope Brexit won't happen, says Leo Varadkar

The Taoiseach has reiterated his hope that Britain will U-Turn on Brexit and remain within the European Union.

Leo Varadkar insisted that the best outcome for Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain would be to stay in the customs union and the single EU market.

During a jobs announcement in Waterford, when asked by reporters if he thought there was any possibility of Brexit not going ahead, he said: "Well, I still hope that it won't happen."

The Taoiseach added that Brexit "is a British policy, not an Irish one".

"When it comes to my work in Brussels, working with other European prime ministers and presidents, it's part of my remit to keep the door open, not just to the European Union, but also to the single market and also to the customs union, should they decide to go down that route.

"That, I think, would be the best outcome for Ireland and Northern Ireland and Britain," Mr Varadkar was quoted in the Irish Times as saying.

Relations between Dublin and Arlene Foster's Democratic Unionist Party have soured over the issue of a post-Brexit border.

The DUP was told on Monday to stop "whinging" about the Government's post-Brexit border stance and instead focus on re-establishing the Northern Ireland Executive and Brexit discussions.

Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond said: "The DUP's whinging doesn't hide their political impotence. They would be far better off seeking to influence their Government partners in Westminster and working to get the Executive back up and running to give Northern Ireland a strong voice."

Mr Richmond was responding to DUP accusations that the Taoiseach was politicking for domestic purposes when he said Ireland would not help Britain design an economic border for Brexiteers.

Mr Richmond said the Irish Government and the EU "cannot be expected to provide all the solutions (in relation to Brexit), especially on areas like a proposed border which run contrary to the aims of the Irish Government or indeed the Good Friday Agreement".

He added: "Being a good friend requires one to be honest. In the Brexit debate, Ireland is the best friend the UK has and it is only right that the Taoiseach and Minister Coveney should point out when the UK negotiating side is lacking."

The DUP was left angry after Mr Varadkar said last week that the Government does not want any sort of economic border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.

He said if Britain wants to put forward technological solutions, that is up to them, but the Government would not do that work for them.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds hit out at the comments and said Dublin was positioning for a general election.

He said: "What's going on is pure politicking for their own domestic market. Let no one pretend otherwise.

"It's simply taking things backwards at a time when common sense co-operation between our two countries and between the Republic and Northern Ireland is what's needed."

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