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Leo Varadkar to warn Boris Johnson he risks causing ‘political instability’ in the North if UK crashes out of EU without a deal

 

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to hold talks with Boris Johnson (Liam McBurneyPA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to hold talks with Boris Johnson (Liam McBurneyPA)

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Michael McDowell. Picture: Collins

Michael McDowell. Picture: Collins

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to hold talks with Boris Johnson (Liam McBurneyPA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will warn UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson he risks “damaging community relations” and causing “political instability” in Northern Ireland if he leaves the EU without a deal.

The two leaders will meet for the first time in Government Buildings on Monday, where talks will focus on Brexit negotiations.

The Taoiseach will tell the Prime Minister he respects the outcome of the UK referendum, but will say he has “deep concerns” about the potential return of a hard border on the island of Ireland as a result of a no-deal Brexit.

The Taoiseach’s spokesperson said Mr Varadkar will tell Mr Johnson his priorities are to protect the rights of the people in Northern Ireland, the Peace Process and Ireland’s place in the EU single market.

“He will point out that if Northern Ireland diverges from the Republic, it has the potential to damage community relations and cause political instability in the North,” he said.

“The Taoiseach will emphasise that Ireland and the EU are still committed to securing a deal, but are making all necessary arrangements to manage a no-deal in the absence of any realistic, legally binding or workable alternatives,” he added.

The meeting between the two leaders comes after Mr Johnson threatened to ignore his own parliament’s decision to force him to seek an extension to the Brexit deadline rather than crash out without a deal.

 

Mr Johnson wrote to Conservative Party MPs on Friday, telling them: “They just passed a law that would force me to beg Brussels for an extension to the Brexit deadline. This is something I will never do.” 

At a press conference last week when asked if would obey the parliament’s vote, Mr Johnson also said:  “I will not. I don’t want a delay.”

Meanwhile, former Attorney General Michael McDowell has proposed establishing an Irish confederation that would see Northern Ireland remain in the EU while also remaining aligned with Britain.

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Michael McDowell. Picture: Collins

Michael McDowell. Picture: Collins

Michael McDowell. Picture: Collins

 

Speaking at the John F Kennedy Summer School in Wexford, Mr McDowell suggested an Irish confederation consisting of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland could allow both states retain their individual identities while aligning on EU and international trade issues.

“Under such a model, powers devolved to the confederation would relate to its membership of the EU - presuming that both parts of Ireland would be part of the EU - and to other aspects of international relations, and to other matters only where it was agreed that authority needed to be shared at a confederal level,” Mr McDowell said.

He said the Irish confederacy would include some joint ministries, institutions and courts to oversee the confederation, but would allow both countries retain their separate identities and cultures.  He said the confederation would pose no threat to communities on either side of the border, but would allow them come together on issues of shared importance.

“Such a form of Irish unity would be non-threatening, consensual in character, and mutually respectful,” he said.

He said a confederation would be more likely to get support on both sides of the border and from all communities in Northern Ireland than a unification referendum.

 

Online Editors