Brexit: Leo Varadkar says some checks ‘near the border’ in a no-deal

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Media captionLeo Varadkar says there may be some checks ‘near the border’ in a no-deal

Some checks on goods and live animals may need to take place “near” the Irish border in a no-deal Brexit, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

In a speech to business leaders in Dublin, Mr Varadkar said that “as far as possible” they will take place at ports, airports and firms.

The Irish prime minister said his government was “working out the details” with the European Commission.

He also said there was “a significant and growing risk of no-deal”.

Speaking at a British-Irish Chamber of Commerce dinner, Mr Varadkar said he would continue efforts to avoid a no-deal, but would not do so “at any cost.”

“I do fear it, but I am prepared for it” he said.

Mr Varadkar also repeated that the EU had still not received any workable alternative to the backstop from the UK.

Customs declarations

Mr Varadkar’s comments echo those made by Tánaiste Simon Coveney on Wednesday, who said that Ireland will try to ensure checks in a no-deal Brexit are carried out away from the border.

Mr Coveney said Ireland would have to work to protect its place within the EU single market.

But the Taoiseach went further in his speech in Dublin on Thursday night, stating that “tariffs will apply to goods imported into Ireland from the United Kingdom and vice versa”.

“The tariff schedules are already known,” he said.

“You will need to be registered as an importer/exporter and you will need to make customs declarations.”

Image copyright AFP

Mr Varadkar said that in the event of no-deal, some things will not change between the UK and Ireland, however.

“The common travel area will remain in place so British and Irish citizens will still be able to travel freely between our two islands and live, work, study and access healthcare, welfare, housing and the labour market as though we were citizens of both,” he said.

“Irish and dual British-Irish citizens in Northern Ireland and Britain will be still be able to travel, work, do business and study throughout the EU without a visa or permit.”

But, he said, for British only citizens, this will no longer be the case.

Backstop proposal

Meanwhile, Irish broadcaster RTÉ has reported that the UK has proposed stripping all elements of the backstop out of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The only elements of the agreement left is a commitment to the all-island electricity market, the Common Travel Area and the rights of EU citizens, it said.

The UK has instead proposed that both sides would make a commitment to no hard border, but only after Britain had left the European Union.



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