Monday 16 September 2019

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar branded 'EU Toady' and 'Air Head' by British Sun newspaper

Leo Varadkar (Laura Hutton/PA)
Leo Varadkar (Laura Hutton/PA)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA Newsdesk Newsdesk

British tabloid 'The Sun' has branded Taoiseach Leo Varadkar an 'EU Toady' following his latest comments on Brexit.

The newspaper - which will be seen by an average 1.6m readers today - features Varadkar's image under 'Fury at EU Toady'.

The Sun front page
The Sun front page

The headline reads: 'Irish PM: I'll ban British planes as revenge for Brexit', followed by the line 'Air Head'.

The story says "The Irish PM was branded 'mad' last night for threatening to block British planes flying over his country. Leo Varadkar says the move would be a tit-for-tat response should Theresa May cut Irish fishermen's access to our waters after Brexit. Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said: 'His words are those of an airhead'."

In an editorial inside the paper and published online, a headline read: "The Irish PM is a fool, but this latest tantrum exposes Brussels’ intentions to keep us in its grip."

The text reads: "Liability Leo. IRISH Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is a bigmouth and a fool, but his latest bone-headed outburst has done us all a favour. It accuses the Taoiseach of 'brainlessly' lobbing grenades to help Brussels in the negotiations.

"Imagine the cataclysmic self-harm of Ireland preventing planes from its biggest trading partner flying over it. And the impossibility of its own airlines avoiding UK airspace. It won’t happen.

"Varadkar must believe that these grenades he brainlessly lobs into the Brexit negotiations help Brussels. He is not bright enough to realise how absurd and unstatesmanlike he looks," the editorial adds.

The story does not appear in the Irish version of the Sun newspaper.

On Wednesday, Mr Varadkar said the Government has made a lot of preparations in case "the proverbial hits the fan" from the "shock" of a "disorderly Brexit".

Warning of a "doomsday" scenario, Mr Varadkar said: "Every country will struggle to put in place the necessary infrastructure and customs and veterinary officials in their ports and airports. It won't be just us.

"I can only imagine what the state of Dover will be in those scenarios - I know there's some projections that suggest trucks backing up as far as the [M25] ring-road around London, in those kinds of scenarios. Obviously there'll be a huge problem for Rotterdam.

"So I think we all need to make sure we don't end up in that kind of scenario, because everyone is going to need some kind of transition period - not just us. The UK will need it too; France, the Netherlands, Belgium," he said.

Britain will also no longer be part of the bloc's common rules for aviation, the European Common Aviation Area arrangements.

"You cannot have your cake and eat it. You can't take back your waters and then expect to use other people's sky," added the Taoiseach.

The English version of the Rupert Murdoch owned newspaper called for the UK to leave the EU during the Brexit referendum in 2016.

This is not the first time the Sun has taken aim at Mr Varadkar - in another editorial last November, they told him "shut your gob and grow up".

They have also accused him of "mudslinging", warning he will only have himself to blame if Ireland gets a bad Brexit deal.

The latest war of words comes as the EU, the UK government and the IMF issued three separate warnings about the potential fall-out from a 'no-deal' Brexit.

The IMF says Brexit could lead to a 1.5pc reduction in economic output from member states, a cumulative cost of €215 billion. This would lead to one million job losses, and Ireland would be worst hit due to our close economic connections to the UK.

Brexit fears have intensified following very poor progress in EU-UK talks and political chaos in Europe.

Read more here:

Prepare for 'significant disruption' European Commission warnings over a no-deal Brexit

UK watchdog and EU tell banks to prepare for hard Brexit


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