Brexit protest held at Irish border Photogallery

Saul Bowman
January 31, 2019

"We're the ones already giving", Mr Varadkar said.

Ahead of the next crucial Commons debate, Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister and deputy prime minister, insisted the backstop was "part of a balanced package that isn't going to change" insisting it was only part of the withdrawal agreement because of the UK's red lines.

"We want a legal guarantee and an operable mechanism which will ensure that we don't lose all the progress that's been made over the last 20 years in Ireland in terms of our peace process and the Good Friday Agreement", Varadkar said. British Prime Minister Theresa May faces another bruising week in Parliament, with lawmakers planning to challenge her minority Conservative government for control of Britain's uncertain Brexit policy.

He accused Mr Varadkar of being "irresponsible" and called for the Fine Gael leader to clarify his comments.

"The Taoiseach has consistently ruled out a border poll on Irish unity".

The Taoiseach said he had not yet seen any technologies that could solve the border issue and that Ireland would not be giving up the backstop for a promise that it would be dealt with later.

The DUP has maintained that the European Union is using the Irish border as a means to eventually cut off the province from the rest of the United Kingdom, with DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson calling the issue a "con".

Asked to describe what a hard border would look like in a worst-case Brexit outcome, Mr Varadkar said: "It would involve customs posts, it would involve people in uniform and it may involve the need, for example, for cameras, physical infrastructure, possibly a police presence or army presence to back it up".

Mr Varadkar said: "They don't exist and nobody has been able to show them to me".

Party leader Colum Eastwood said: "The SDLP has always recognised that Northern Ireland would be the place most adversely impacted by the decision made by majorities in England and Wales to exit the European Union".

Of that Brexit plan, Varadkar said: "We came up with a solution. now their Parliament has rejected it".

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