Leo Varadkar heralds 'one of the better days in politics' amid draft Brexit withdrawal deal

Leo Varadkar heralds 'one of the better days in politics' amid draft Brexit withdrawal deal
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks at a press conference on Brexit at government buildings in Dublin tonight. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has heralded today as “one of the better days in politics” as he championed a significant victory for Ireland in relation to Brexit.

Speaking tonight, Mr Varadkar said the deal reached between the EU and the UK represented a “decisive” step forward.

He said the 500-plus legal text puts Ireland in a stronger position than last December, when he described the commitment to avoiding a hard border as “bulletproof”.

“This deal has turned those commitments into a legal text, a binding treaty. It is even stronger than what we had in December, we are in a stronger position than last December,” he told reporters.

He said the need the backstop and this is fully spelt out in the draft agreement, and no need for a border on the island of Ireland or along the Irish sea arises until a better solution arises.

“We do now have the insurance policy of the backstop if all else fails,” he said, adding that unwinding the backstop cannot be a unilateral decision. It can only be taken by both EU and UK,” he said.

Mr Varadkar was speaking after the Cabinet met especially for two hours on Wednesday where ministers were briefed by Mr Varadkar and Mr Coveney in detail about the provisions which protects the ideal of no border on the island of Ireland and respects the principle of a legally-binding backstop.

Ministers were remaining tightlipped as a forced lockdown on speaking to the media was being enforced by Mr Varadkar's office to allow events play out in London.

But sources have said Mr Varadkar was “at ease and smiling” throughout the meeting despite the importance of what was being discussed.

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