Published: Mon, November 19, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Brexit deal: NIO Minister of State Shailesh Vara resigns

Brexit deal: NIO Minister of State Shailesh Vara resigns

He said if it looked as though Britain were heading towards a no-deal departure from the European Union then direct discussions on how to avoid a hard border would be required.

In the event of a no deal, a hard border and inevitable impact to the Irish economy, the fall out could impact the Fine Gael leadership who aligned themselves so closely to the withdrawal negotiations.

On a visit to a housing development in Dublin, Mr Varadkar predicted that Mrs May may start to secure more support for her proposals as the Brexit "precipice" approaches.

The Taoiseach said that he does not see much room for renegotiation of the deal for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, no matter who the Brexit Secretary is.

Varadkar said he did not see any scope for renegotiating it unless the British government delayed its exit beyond March 29, something it has repeatedly ruled out.

And he said that if changes are made, the whole thing could unravel.

But he said that would require the United Kingdom requesting an extension to Article 50 and he did not think that they would do so.

"So those hard Brexiteers who say that just through good political will you could avoid a hard border, that doesn't make sense", Varadkar said.

"But that would have to be requested by the UK Government and they have been very clear. that they won't be seeking a delay", he added.

"In a no-deal scenario it would be very difficult to avoid a hard border because of the obvious fact that, as Ireland remaining part of the European Union, we would no doubt be asked to implement European law", he said.

Mr Vara, a Conservative MP, has left his post over the Brexit draft deal.

Mr Varadkar, who described the news of the cabinet backing the draft agreement as "one of the better days in politics", said he thought people had underestimated the "mettle and courage" of Theresa May.

The Irish government has repeatedly warned that physical infrastructure at the border would anger nationalists and could become a target for militants opposed to the peace deal. In Northern Ireland, four major business groups welcomed the "much needed clarity" brought by the agreement that could offer Northern Irish firms closer alignment with the EU.

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