PARIS: Ireland does not want to become a “back door” into the EU single market for Britain in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Tuesday in Paris.
“We don’t want Ireland to be a back door to the single market, anymore than anybody wants us to become a back door to the single market,” Varadkar said after a meeting in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Varadkar said he was committed to preventing goods that do no meet EU norms from entering Ireland or the EU.
“In the unlikely event that we have a no-deal and the UK were to do trade deals with the US or China and we had chlorinated chicken or hormone beef, or products made by child labor in Asian countries, the last thing we would want is that coming south of the border into the Republic of Ireland.
“And we certainly wouldn’t want it getting through the Republic of Ireland into the European Union,” he said.
But he again reiterated his opposition to creating a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, for fear that it could jeopardize peace in the British province.
Varadkar said that while physical inspections would be necessary on imports like live animals, they could be done at ports in Northern Ireland rather than in the Irish Republic.
“That is the right and best place for them,” he said.
But the British government has refused to envisage carrying out customs checks on goods arriving in northern Ireland from Britain, arguing that to do so would drive a wedge through the United Kingdom.
The EU’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said Tuesday that the EU was working with Ireland “on a unilateral basis in the event of no deal, to know where we can do these checks,” but refused to elaborate further.