Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said ensuring there is no border with Northern Ireland is more important than trade considerations.
Speaking as he rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, Mr Varadkar was pressed by reporters about the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit.
This morning five Irish companies @wearelinesight @TransferMate @dingHQ @soapboxlabs @EmpowerTheUser participated in a round table with An Taoiseach @campaignforleo before ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange @NYSE #IrishAdvantage pic.twitter.com/kBWtQvBvKH— EI theUSA (@EI_theUSA) July 3, 2018
He was asked was trade more important than the border issue, but the Taoiseach was clear.
“The issue of avoiding a hard border is about much more than money, it is about much more than trade, ” he said.
“It is about a peace process and allowing people who live on either side of the border to continue to lead normal lives and peaceful lives as they have done for the past twenty years,” he added.
“Something like that is of paramount importance. Our objective is to achieve both, to avoid a hard border but also to have close free trade with Britain,” the Taoiseach said.
Mr Varadkar said it is not the Government's intention of contemplating the return of a hard border.
When asked if the Revenue Commissioners are scouting potential border checkpoint locations, he was very clear.
“No [they are not], and if they are they cetainly are not doing it at the direction of government and if they are they can stop. We are not contemplating a physical border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, that is simply not going to happen,” he said.
Mr Varadkar returns to Ireland this evening ahead having launched our bid to join the United Nations Security Council in 2021.