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Border checks may be needed in event of no-deal Brexit - Varadkar

Justin Farrelly/PA Wire

By Aine McMahon, PA

Irish premier Leo Varadkar has said some checks may have to be placed on the border in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

He said while some checks could be required, the Government has not identified exactly where those checks will be located.

The Taoiseach stressed that it is "not to be assumed" there will be border checks, but he was answering the question "on a hypothetical level".

He said: "Our intention in the event of no-deal - and this is is a hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question - is that checks will take place at ports and airports and at business level.

"Some checks may need to be placed on the border but we do not have any locations identified.

"We will do everything we can do to avoid checks on or near the border but the position we face is a decision by the UK to leave the EU potentially without a deal, and in that scenario we have a twin objective.

"The first is to uphold the Good Friday Agreement and the second is to protect our position in the European single market so that is going to be very difficult," he said.

"What I can say to anyone who operates a business along the border who may face SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary) checks or other is that we will give them plenty of notice. It is not going to be a sudden announcement or an overnight decision," he said.

Yesterday, Deputy Irish premier Simon Coveney said any checks introduced will only be considered a "temporary arrangement" by Ireland.

Mr Varadkar said "the gap is very wide" between the EU and the UK in reaching a deal on Brexit.

"We have always said we would be willing to look at alternative arrangements, but what we're seeing falls far very short," Mr Varadkar told RTE radio.

"The gap is very wide but we will fight for and work for a deal until the last moment, but not at any cost."

Mr Varadkar said he trusts British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is acting in good faith in the Brexit negotiations.

"I believe him when he says he want a deal on Brexit that he is acting in good faith. Our teams are in contact and we are exploring what is possible," he said.

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