Leo Varadkar: We won’t give in on Brexit demands

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has insisted Ireland and the EU will not give in on any key principles in order to strike a Brexit deal with Britain after meeting with a key UK cabinet member on the ongoing stand-off.

Leo Varadkar: We won’t give in on Brexit demands

Speaking to reporters as Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe separately labelled Britain’s current Brexit proposals as unworkable, Mr Varadkar said Ireland will not back down on its demands.

At an event in Dublin before meeting British chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond, Mr Varadkar said while this week’s talks between Britain and the EU are welcome, progress “has been very limited to date”.

“We believe the best way that we can ensure that all our interests are protected, citizens rights, our economic interests, our trade interests, are by Britain remaining in the European Union,” he said.

“The progress has to be the kind of progress that we want, and crucially what we want is that the common travel area be retained, be strengthened if anything.

“We will be looking for peace funding for Northern Ireland to be maintained, we will be looking for a commitment to the Good Friday Agreement. Also we will be saying we don’t want any trade border on the island.”

His tough stance was added to by Mr Donohoe, who also met with Mr Hammond in Dublin.

While welcoming the opportunity to discuss ongoing Brexit issues Mr Donohoe said significant work still needed to take place, and added that Britain’s existing policies are simply not capable of meeting Ireland and the EU’s needs.

“What was valuable was that the British government put down on paper what it’s thinking, what those papers also demonstrated for us was how much more work has to be done in this area.

“The nature of a customs union or as close to that is the best framework all of these can be developed. But as we stand at the moment we don’t believe those proposals as laid out are capable of meeting the needs Ireland and the EU has,” he said.

Foreign Minister Simon Coveney underlined the view in a statement last night.

Meanwhile,, outspoken Brexit campaigner and former Ukip leader Nigel Farage told RTÉ Radio’s Today With Sean O’Rourke programme he believes his country’s legitimate proposals are being deliberately blocked by Brussels officials.

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