Ireland ‘will block next phase of Brexit talks’ over border

The Government is set to block Britain’s attempts to progress Brexit negotiations because of its failure to address concerns about the border with the North.

The Taoiseach and the Foreign Affairs Minister have warned Britain that negotiations on Brexit, including around a new border with the north, are “not close” to where they need to be to meet the October deadline to progress to the next phase of negotiations.

Speaking at the Fine Gael pre-Dáil meeting in Tipperary, Leo Varadkar sent out a strong message to London that Ireland will block its progression to the next phase of Brexit negotiations.

EU leaders agree “sufficient progress” must be made on three issues, including the new Irish border, before talks move to phase two.

“The guidelines that we set out as European heads of government was that we want to see special progress, not just on issues relating to Ireland where there has been quite a lot of progress, but also on the financial settlement and citizens rights and as of now enough progress hasn’t been made for us to go onto the next phase of talks.”

Elsewhere, the Taoiseach criticised the Garda Representatives Association for rejecting “specific findings” of the false alcohol breath tests investigation. The association has denied frontline gardaí were responsible for the fake tests. Mr Varadkar said he was “disappointed” with their response.

“There is evidence in the O’Sullivan report to back up the view that gardaí did falsify the number of tests.”

Asked if he is in favour of disciplining individual gardaí who filed false breath tests, Mr Varadkar added: “I do believe there should be individual accountability for anyone who was involved in falsifying breath tests, and not just at the level of individual rank and file gardaí.”

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