'Ireland has achieved all we set out to achieve' - Varadkar on politically bulletproof Brexit deal

'Ireland has achieved all we set out to achieve' - Varadkar on politically bulletproof Brexit deal

AN TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has said that Ireland has achieved 'all we set out to achieve' in the first phase of Brexit negotiations. 

Mr Varadkar was speaking at Government Buildings this morning following the announcement of a deal between the UK and EU on Phase 1.

Speaking to waiting press, Mr Varadkar said: "Today is a significant day for Ireland. We have achieved all we set out to achieve in these negotiations.

"This is not the end, but it is the end of the beginning."

In laying out what has been achieved for Northern Ireland in negotiations, the Taoiseach said the Good Friday Agreement is protected in all its parts, as well the right for citizens in Northern Ireland exercise their right to e an Irish or EU citizen, the Common Travel Area between Britain and Ireland will be maintained, as well as the freedom of British and Irish citizens in each other's countries.

The Taoiseach also spoke to reassure the unionist community that the Irish Government has no hidden agenda.

"We want to build bridges, not borders.

"There is no question of us trying to exploit Brexit as a means of moving to a United Ireland without consent."

Speaking to the nationalist community he said the Irish Government protected their interests.

Assuring nationalists, Mr Varadkar said: "You will never again be left behind by Irish Government.”

In relation to a 'back stop' trade deal for Northern Ireland,  Mr Varadkar said: "What we want, as does the UK is new eep and comprehensive treaty covering free trade and customs with the UK that isn't very different from the status quo when it comes to trade.

"The backstop is, in the absence of an agreement, the UK is committing to maintain full alignment with those rules of the internal market and customs union which now and in the future supports north south co-operation, the all island economy and the protection of the 1998 agreement."

Mr Varadkar also said that the deal achieved this morning is 'politically bulletproof.'

"[The agreement] is politically bulletproof and cast iron. The language that's there in the paragraphs talks about commitment to avoiding a hard border, there being no physical infrastructure, no associated checks and controls, and that commitment is over arching, and stands in all circumstances."

He said the 'strongest commitment' in this document is to no hard border.