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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says no-deal Brexit would be 'a tragedy' as he plays down chance of breakthrough before EU summit in October

 

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Minister Helen McEntee picture at Dublin port to view the new  Brexit infrastructure which has been installed. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Minister Helen McEntee picture at Dublin port to view the new Brexit infrastructure which has been installed. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee been given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port of the new Brexit infrastructure which has been installed. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee been given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port of the new Brexit infrastructure which has been installed. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee being given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee being given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee being given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee being given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee pictured at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee pictured at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Shane Kirk Assistant Agriculture Inspector, Horticulture and Plant Health, at Dublin port to view the new Brexit infrastructure. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Shane Kirk Assistant Agriculture Inspector, Horticulture and Plant Health, at Dublin port to view the new Brexit infrastructure. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee with Department Officials at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee with Department Officials at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Minister Helen McEntee picture at Dublin port to view the new Brexit infrastructure which has been installed. Picture: Arthur Carron

IT would be “a tragedy” if Europe wakes up to a no-deal Brexit on November 1, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

However, ahead of his first meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tomorrow, Mr Varadkar played down any prospects of a breakthrough.

Ireland remains entirely wedded to the idea that the UK must accept the backstop as the only working means of preventing a hard border on this island.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee been given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port of the new Brexit infrastructure which has been installed. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee been given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port of the new Brexit infrastructure which has been installed. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee been given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port of the new Brexit infrastructure which has been installed. Picture: Arthur Carron

 

"I don't think the meeting tomorrow is a high-stakes meeting, as I don't anticipate a big breakthrough tomorrow. If we come to an agreement that agreement will happen in October at the EU summit," Mr Varadkar said.

"But the stakes are high, certainly I don't think anyone can argue with that."

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee being given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee being given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee being given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

 

In the event of no-deal, Mr Varadkar says it is not possible to talk about a free-trade agreement until issues around Ireland, citizens' rights, and the financial settlement associated with the UK leaving the EUare resolved, which he says were already resolved in the Withdrawal Agreement.

"I am loathe to speculate, but if we end up in a no-deal scenario on November 1, I do think within weeks or months the EU and UK will have to sit down round the table and negotiate again, but it would be a tragedy if we got to that point," he said.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee being given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee being given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee being given a tour by Barry Delaney, Chief Plant Health Officer, Dept of Agriculture at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

 

Mr Varadkar, along with EU Minister Helen McEntee and OPW Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, spent around an hour inspecting preparations for a disorderly Brexit at Dublin Port today.

He said roughly 80pc of all trade and merchandise from the UK comes through the Port.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee pictured at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee pictured at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee pictured at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

 

New inspection bays, refrigeration facilities for food and holding areas for animals have been installed, as well as hundreds of parking spots for HGVs.

Mr Varadkar said he would rather none of it was necessary, but Ireland must continue preparing for the worst.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Shane Kirk Assistant Agriculture Inspector, Horticulture and Plant Health, at Dublin port to view the new Brexit infrastructure. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Shane Kirk Assistant Agriculture Inspector, Horticulture and Plant Health, at Dublin port to view the new Brexit infrastructure. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Shane Kirk Assistant Agriculture Inspector, Horticulture and Plant Health, at Dublin port to view the new Brexit infrastructure. Picture: Arthur Carron

 

Asked about the UK government’s assessment that a deal can still be done in time for an EU Summit on October 17, the Taoiseach said that was an “very optimistic assessment of where we stand”.

He said that view wouldn’t be shared by the 27 EU Member States.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee with Department Officials at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee with Department Officials at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ministers Kevin Moran and Helen McEntee with Department Officials at Dublin port. Picture: Arthur Carron

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