Varadkar's meeting with Johnson an 'opportunity' to 'see if we can make more progress'

Britain will be entirely to blame if checks close to the border are introduced after Brexit, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned.

Varadkar's meeting with Johnson an 'opportunity' to 'see if we can make more progress'

Britain will be entirely to blame if checks close to the border are introduced after Brexit, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned.

Mr Varakdar, who is due to meet UK prime minister Boris Johnson in New York tomorrow, also pushed aside any suggestion that Ireland will “somehow fold or give up our position” in relation to the withdrawal agreement and the backstop, stating: “that’s not going to happen”.

“One thing I do know about Brexit for the past two or three years, and there are some people in Britain – perhaps not in government – but some people in Britain that took the view that sooner or later the French and Germans and big countries would gang up on Ireland and that’s never happened," the Taoiseach said.

Mr Varadkar said tomorrow's meeting on the fringes of a special UN Summit on climate change will be "another opportunity" to "compare notes, see if there's more common ground, see if we can make more progress" on Brexit.

The Taoiseach had a 45-minute meeting with EU Council President Donald Tusk today where both leaders agreed that the UK have not produced proposals that achieve the objective of the backstop.

Both men agreed that a deal is the best option, however, they said time is now very short if there is to be a positive outcome at the EU Council meeting on October 17.

With less than six weeks until the October deadline and little progress made in talks, a no-deal Brexit now seems the most likely outcome.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker this week said

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“I’m not the architect of new Border stations. The British have to tell us exactly the architectural nature of this Border,” Mr Juncker said.

Asked about the stark comments, Mr Varadkar said that if Britain crashes out of the EU checks will be "necessary" but said this has been well flagged by the Government.

"Checks at ports, airports, checks at business level, and also some checks near the border.

“But if that happens, that will happen as a consequence of the United Kingdom deciding to leave without a deal. It won't be a decision that we've made, and it certainly won't be something that we sign up to agree to anyway," said Mr Varadkar.

He said businesses and farmers have already been informed about customs declarations and tariff rates which will be introduced in the event of no-deal, but he said the exact nature of border checks still has to be agreed with the EU.

"They know that there will be lots of checks at the ports and airports and indeed the infrastructure is there now to do that.

"In relation to the arrangements near the border. I understand, of course, business and agriculture want to know what will happen in that scenario.

"But that's not agreed yet and hasn't been agreed between us and the European Commission.

"Once we know, we will inform people, but also we will give people a decent lead-in time so that they'll have time to prepare," said Mr Varadkar.

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