Brexit will take over two years, says Kenny

Enda Kenny has said it will take longer than two years for Britain to leave the European Union, once Brexit is triggered.

A deal between the EU and Britain must be agreed within two years once Britain triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the formal process for leaving the EU.

Mr Kenny said: “I think it will be impossible to do the negotiations within the contemplated two-year period. That’s why I think there’s a growing feeling in Europe that there should be a transition period, and that the transition period will be longer than those two years — I think it will be,” he told Sky News.

Meanwhile, a border poll on a united Ireland has been firmly ruled out by Enda Kenny and others attending a British-Irish summit amid ongoing talks on Brexit implications.

Any border or checkpoint changes due to Brexit would create “enormous” difficulties for Ireland and cause job losses, Mr Kenny said after the meeting of the eight leaders. .

The British-Irish Council (BIC), including leaders from the North, Scotland, and Wales, discussed the need for countries to continue to have access to the single market.

Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones said BIC members talked about minimising the possibility of any hard borders as a result of Brexit.

Mr Kenny said Ireland supports the Good Friday Agreement and its conditions. One of its clauses says a border poll, or a vote on a united Ireland, should be called if there is a strong body of opinion that one is needed.

Mr Kenny disagreed with being quoted this week as saying at a private fundraising event in Dublin that Brexit could in “an uncomplicated” way bring about a united Ireland.

He told reporters there is “no intention” of having a border poll now.

“There is no indication that a border poll will succeed now. We’ve enough on our plates at the moment to deal with Brexit and the many challenges that arise from many other issues.”

Mr Kenny said new checkpoints or fresh port controls going up between countries would create “enormous difficulties”.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, held talks with Mr Kenny at the summit yesterday and will visit Dublin next week.

Meanwhile, Mr Kenny has indicated that if there is a need to appoint judges because of a shortfall, the Government will ensure the work of the judiciary can continue.

“There are a small number of circuit court and others that will probably [need judges] following next year on retirements or whatever. We’re considering all of that. And we need a situation where judges are entitled to get on with their work in dealing with the many cases that come before them at all levels of the courts.”

His comments come after criticism from Circuit Court president Raymond Groarke, who said this week that he cannot implement the law unless more judges are appointed.

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