Ireland's Varadkar says reassured by UK PM May over DUP deal

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 22, 2017

"I am very reassured by what the Prime Minister said to me today that that won't be the case".

"While there will be a political border between our two countries, there should not be an economic one and any border that does exist should be invisible", Varadkar, the first openly gay prime minister of Ireland, said following his talks with May. "When there is an attack on London, we in Ireland feel it is nearly an attack on us as well", Varadkar said.

Amid reports that opposition parties will try to bring down Mrs May with a series of targeted amendments to the Queen's Speech, the PM said she was still pushing for an alignment with the DUP.

In his first official overseas visit since being elected Taoiseach last week, Mr Varadkar travels to London where Northern Ireland and Brexit will top the agenda.

The participants have until June 29 to reach a deal that would see devolution returned or they face the prospect of direct rule being reimposed from Westminster.

May called the election in a bid to increase her majority and strengthen her hand within her party ahead of the Brexit talks.

"All of the messaging I am getting is people are up for a deal", he said.

Theresa May has insisted a proposed deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists (DUP) to prop up her minority Government will not be allowed to undermine the Good Friday Agreement.

A DUP source confirmed negotiations were "ongoing" and said they were looking to deliver "a more compassionate style of government for the whole of the UK".

Northern Ireland has been without a powersharing Executive since March and without a first and deputy first minister since January.

Keith Richards, PFS chief executive, said: 'We can't ignore the demographic and economic pressures facing our economy, and the new government has to take responsibility for easing these pressures by making hard decisions and introducing courageous but prudent measures so that the public have a choice of mitigating any personal impact on them and their families.

Sinn Fein's Stormont leader, Michelle O'Neill, said her party was up for striking a deal.

By going public there is also a suspicion in Government that the DUP are trying to get Downing Street and the Treasury to finalise the details of the agreement.

"During the Fine Gael leadership contest, the Taoiseach expressed his support for special arrangements for the North of Ireland in response to Brexit".

"Clearly the DUP are on the wrong side of the argument, cosying up alongside the Tory Government who are disrespecting the mandate of the people here, who asked to remain within the European Union", she added.

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