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Varadkar Says Post Brexit Border Would Be 'A Target'

14 March 2018

Ireland's prime minister, Leo Varadkar, has rejected suggestions that people crossing the Irish border would have to pre-register to avoid personal checks after Brexit.

Vardakar urged senior cabinet figures to visit the border for a better understanding.

Vardakar ruled out the plans that are reportedly being considered by the United Kingdom government, saying: "No, it is not a solution that we envisage".

It's understood that, under the proposal, those who attempt to do so without registering will be considered to have "entered the state irregularly".

"They would certainly be very welcome to visit the border", he said.

He said Northern Secretary Karen Bradley had already done so, as have a number of MPs and members of the House of Lords.

Mr Varadkar said the Government has good engagement with the British cabinet and has explained how the Brexit issues are unique to Ireland but, as "in any walk of life... sometimes you need to see things with your own eyes". "And to see that it is invisible".

In December, she agreed to "full alignment" of regulations across the entire United Kingdom if necessary to avoid the return of border posts and checks, which could become a magnet for terrorists.

"Three options have been set out as how this can be achieved".

The Taoiseach has mentioned his distaste for a hard border before, referencing how a system similar to the Canada-US border "is definitely not a solution that we could possibly entertain".

In December, a deal between the EU and the UK agreed that UK would maintain regulatory alignment with the EU's customs union if the UK could not come up with a solution for Northern Ireland that avoided a hard border.

Any less comprehensive free-trade agreement in lieu of customs union membership would carry the risk of logistical bottlenecks and inevitably lead to an increase in the cost and bureaucratic burden associated with trade, he added.

Last week Mr Varadkar rejected a suggestion by British Prime Minister Theresa May that the customs arrangement between the USA and Canada was among possible models for the future arrangement in Ireland.

New research on a smart border between Northern and the Republic of Ireland continues.

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Varadkar Says Post Brexit Border Would Be 'A Target'