Ireland will not be allowed to suffer because of UK's Brexit decision, EU negotiator

EU parliament negotiator Guy Verhofstadt has warned that borders breed “discrimination” and “hostility” and that Ireland will not be allowed to suffer by the decision of the British to leave the European Union, writes Juno McEnroe.

Delivering a special speech in the Dáil chamber this morning, the Belgium politician outlined how he had visited the border region yesterday and said that reinstating a physical divide between North and South Ireland would be “absurd”.

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Mr Verhofstadt is also meeting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today, where the two are discussing the latest developments on Brexit.

The meeting comes ahead of a key speech by British Prime Minister Theresa May on Brexit, which she will deliver in Italy tomorrow.

Speaking to Oireachtas Committees in the Dáil chamber this morning, Mr Verhofstadt warned that borders can “run through people's hearts and minds”.

He said borders “breed discrimination and hostility”.

He said the EU needs to ensure that there is no return to a hard border of the past in the North.#

Leo Varadkar (centre) and Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee greet European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt on his arrival at Government Buildings, Dublin. Pic: PA

Mr Verhofstadt said the EU would pass a special fresh resolution next month, reiterating its opposition to any return to a border on the island of Ireland.

“Ireland must not pay the price of Brexit” and would not be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Britain, he said.

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