Brexit protest held at Irish border Photogallery

Arturo Kim
January 29, 2019

A no-deal Brexit could be "extremely difficult" in the short to medium term, a junior finance minister in Prime Minister Theresa May's government said, adding that there would ostensibly have to be a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Demonstrators knock down a "mock" wall on the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border, near Newry in Northern Ireland, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019.

A mock checkpoint manned by protesters dressed as soldiers and customs officers was constructed close to the Irish border.

"Often when I talk about Brexit outside of Ireland, people talk about it as if it's a trade deal, as if it's about trade and jobs and the economy and migration", Varadkar said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"The problem with that in the context of Irish politics and history is those things become targets", he added.

Varadkar said the backstop, created to avoid the return of border infrastructure, is needed to ensure those scenes never materialized, and offered little hope to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May that he might be prepared to dilute the fix.

However, as exit day on March 29th approaches without a deal in sight, the European Union has begun to crack, with lead negotiator Michel Barnier admitting: "We will have to find an operational way of carrying out checks and controls without putting back in place a border".

"We're the ones already giving", Mr Varadkar said.

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"If that is the case then the only way to prevent such a scenario is by affording the Irish people their say in the form of a border poll on Irish unity", Ms McDonald said.

"Communities could be dragged back into the old days of living in the shadow of someone else's border".

There was considerable anger and confusion after the EU Commission warned a No Deal Brexit would lead to a hard border in Ireland, only to be contradicted by Dublin.

He said: "Many people are trying to shift the focus away from London onto Dublin this week".

Dodds said he was encouraged by what he called a more realistic approach from the EU.

We want to help Mrs May but we need a stronger indication from your MPs about where we go from here and what they want.

Mr O'Donovan told RTÉ's Six One News that Mr Varadkar's comments this morning were articulating the sort of border that we do not want to go back to.

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