You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

'Our position to peace process is unshakeable' - but Boris Johnson says Brexit 'must happen by October 31'

Independent.ie logo Independent.ie 09/09/2019 Ryan Nugent, Kevin Doyle and Shawn Pogatchnik
Leo Varadkar wearing a suit and tie: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that the UK's position on the peace process is "unshakeable" but insisted "permanent damage" would be done to UK democracy if they don't leave the EU by October 31.

Mr Johnson promised the UK would not impose border checks and said he hopes the EU would follow suit.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble © Catalyst Images Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble In his statement at Government Buildings, Mr Varadkar told Mr Johnson "the stakes are high" in Brexit negotiations and that the "backstop is critical" - stating that no alternative has been offered by the UK.

Mr Varadkar said there's no such thing as a clean break if the UK leave the EU on October 31, with or without a deal.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts during a meeting with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts during a meeting with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble
© Catalyst Images

The Taoiseach said the process of leaving the EU will be a huge challenge for Mr Johnson and "we do want to be your friend, your ally in doing so".

However, he said this would depend on how the UK decides to leave the EU.

DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 09: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) meets with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings on September 9, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. The meeting between the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach focused on Brexit negotiations, with Varadkar warning Johnson that leaving the EU with no deal risked causing instability in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images) © Catalyst Images DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 09: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) meets with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings on September 9, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. The meeting between the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach focused on Brexit negotiations, with Varadkar warning Johnson that leaving the EU with no deal risked causing instability in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson made his comments as he arrived at Government Buildings in Dublin for talks with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Mr Varadkar said he didn't anticipate "a big breakthrough" today, but acknowledged the meeting comes against a backdrop where the "stakes are high".

DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 09: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) meets with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings on September 9, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland.  The meeting between the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach focused on Brexit negotiations, with Varadkar warning Johnson that leaving the EU with no deal risked causing instability in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan - Pool/Getty Images) © Catalyst Images DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 09: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) meets with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings on September 9, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. The meeting between the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach focused on Brexit negotiations, with Varadkar warning Johnson that leaving the EU with no deal risked causing instability in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan - Pool/Getty Images) While Ireland doesn't negotiate directly with the UK on Brexit, the two leaders can discuss potential alternatives to the backstop.

The embattled British prime minister will fly home this afternoon in a bid to try and collapse his own government.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts next to Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble © Catalyst Images Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts next to Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble As Taoiseach Leo Varadkar prepared for the showdown with Boris Johnson today, a new study has predicted the fallout from Brexit will be “brutal” for some communities.

Leading accountancy firm EY’s ‘Economic Eye’ report says that in a worst-case scenario Dublin can achieve a growth rate of 4pc, but many rural areas could experience a 2pc fall next year.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble © Catalyst Images Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble Chief economist with EY Neil Gibson told the Irish Independent: “This disruption we foresee in the event of a no-deal Brexit, at a human level, can be pretty brutal.”

EU capitals will be closely monitoring Mr Johnson’s statements today amid speculation more Tory MPs will resign.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on during a meeting with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble © Catalyst Images Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on during a meeting with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble The UK is toying with the idea of an all-Ireland system of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks on agricultural products - but Mr Varadkar said yesterday this would only remove the need for around 30pc of border checks.

"It's not enough on its own. We would need a single Irish economic zone, or whatever you would like to call it, to cover more than agriculture and food," he said.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks next to Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble © Catalyst Images Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks next to Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble Asked whether he would consider a return to earlier proposals of Northern Ireland-specific solutions, the Taoiseach said Ireland had always been open to this idea.

"It will be interesting to see whether we could find some common ground on a Northern Ireland-specific solution, but I will have to judge that," he said.

DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 09: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to the media ahead of his meeting with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings on September 9, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. The meeting between the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach focused on Brexit negotiations, with Varadkar warning Johnson that leaving the EU with no deal risked causing instability in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images) © Catalyst Images DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 09: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to the media ahead of his meeting with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings on September 9, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. The meeting between the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach focused on Brexit negotiations, with Varadkar warning Johnson that leaving the EU with no deal risked causing instability in Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Speaking yesterday, Mr Varadkar indicated that no matter how much pressure builds, he will not compromise on the backstop.

He suggested even if that issue were resolved there is no evidence that the House of Commons would pass the Withdrawal Agreement.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks next to Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar (not pictured) in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble © Catalyst Images Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks next to Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar (not pictured) in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble "The only thing that I would say is the situation in the UK is very fluid at the moment, prime minister [Theresa] May with a parliamentary majority was unable to get a deal ratified through the House of Commons. Prime Minister Johnson doesn't have a majority so I'll be asking him how he can convince us, Ireland, the EU, that he actually is capable or has the votes to get a deal through," Mr Varadkar said.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson shakes hands with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble © Catalyst Images Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson shakes hands with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble Referring to Mr Johnson's statement that he would rather be found "dead in a ditch" than seek a Brexit delay, Mr Varadkar said: "This isn't about politicians and it isn't about our electoral prospects - it's about protecting people's jobs, people's livelihoods, protecting peace and protecting security and if an extension is required to those things well I think any politician should be prepared to do that."

While Opposition parities back Mr Varadkar's position against Mr Johnson, they will this week ramp up pressure on the Government to reveal more details on Ireland's planning for no deal.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts as Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar speaks in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble © Catalyst Images Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts as Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar speaks in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble Fianna Fáil will hold its pre-Dáil think-in today, where party leader Micheál Martin is expected to demand an explanation for what Mr Varadkar means when he says there may be checks "near the Border".

Tánaiste Simon Coveney was caught on tape last January telling Transport Minister Shane Ross not to use that phrase in case people would interpret it as the reintroduction of a physical Border.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble © Catalyst Images Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Ireland, September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble Mr Varadkar said he is not in a position to explain the situation further as talks are ongoing.

"I totally understand, particularly when it comes to businesses operating in and around the Border, they want to know what is going to happen," he said. "And I want to tell them, and I'll tell them as soon as I know and as soon as we have nailed that down with the European Commission."

MORE NEWS:

Irish athlete killed in car crash (Irish Mirror)

Boris in Dublin for talks with Varadkar amid Brexit crisis (The Journal)

Met Éireann predicts roasting hot end to week (Irish Mirror)

Irish flights affected after British Airways cancels UK services over pilot pay dispute (The Journal)

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Independent.ie

Independent.ie
Independent.ie
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon