Irish PM rejects post-Brexit border pre-registration

The economic damage from a failure to agree a standstill transition in March will be substantial.     
       Faisal Islam

The economic damage from a failure to agree a standstill transition in March will be substantial. Faisal Islam

During the first day of his trip to the US, Mr Varadkar said Mr Johnson and UK Brexit Minister David Davis would be "very welcome to visit the Border" and that such a trip could prove "helpful".

May has been to Northern Ireland twice since 2016 but has not visited the border, in contrast to the EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barner, who has been twice, and the European parliament's Guy Verhofstadt, who visited in September.

"They would certainly be very welcome to visit the border", he said.

The former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain went on to say that this proposal of pre-registering "would be risking immediate civil unrest".

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Mr Varadkar said the Government has good engagement with the British cabinet and has explained how the Brexit issues are unique to Ireland but, as "in any walk of life... sometimes you need to see things with your own eyes".

"I can't see anything negative in a British cabinet minister viewing the Border, seeing what it looks like", he said. "And to see that it is invisible".

Leo Varadkar says they'll become natural targets for people if they have to be re-established post-Brexit.

The commitment was seen as a major win for the Irish government which had placed avoiding a hard border as its major priority.

"And they will become vandalised".

"Do you accept that or do you put in guards to stop them doing that?" It followed claims from the Foreign Secretary, which were quickly ridiculed, that the border was no different to the boundary between the London boroughs of Islington and Camden.

He said that now differences in excise duties between Northern Ireland and Ireland are "policed by an intelligence-led approach with collaboration between police forces and customs authorities on both sides of the Border". "If Brexit is a threat to that, everyone is entitled to keep an open mind about whether it's the right path for the country".