Wednesday 21 August 2019

I won't threaten to use veto: Taoiseach

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Niall O'Connor

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is not prepared "at this stage" to threaten to exercise Ireland's veto over the Brexit negotiations due to a lack of progress on the Border issue.

Mr Varadkar yesterday said the question of using the veto was "hypothetical" and that the Government's vision for the Border post-Brexit was supported by other EU member states.

The prospect of a collapse in the Brexit talks between the EU and the UK heightened over the weekend.

Speaking yesterday, UK Brexit Secretary David Davis said the prospect of a no-deal outcome was "more probable than it's ever been before".

Under the current arrangements, Ireland could veto the first phase of the talks if satisfactory plans for the Border are not put in place.

But in an interview with Áine Lawlor on RTÉ's 'The Week in Politics', Mr Varadkar played down using such an option.

"The question is very much a hypothetical one. We don't know if Ireland will be the only outstanding issue in December. What I'm not going to do at this stage, because it wouldn't be in the interests of the Irish people, I'm not going to make ultimatums or threaten to use a veto," Mr Varadkar said.

Separately yesterday, Mr Varadkar said there was an "unintended consequence" of the decision to get rid of the so-called 'Double Irish' tax scheme in Budget 2012. He said this decision is being reversed as part of the Finance Bill.

"I don't want a situation whereby major companies and wealthy companies are paying no tax at all," he said.

"I certainly never want to be Taoiseach of the country that tolerates brass-plated operations or could be described as a tax haven by any reputable body in the OECD."

Irish Independent

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