Johnson and Varadkar meet in Dublin for talks on Brexit

by Padraig Conlon

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British prime minister Boris Johnson are meeting in Government Buildings this morning to discuss a Northern Ireland-only backstop.

Speaking on the steps of the Dail before their meeting, Varadkar said the backstop is a critical component of the Withdrawal Agreement and no alternatives have so far been received.

However he also said he’s confident he and his British counterpart can find some common ground today.

This is Johnson’s first meeting with the Taoiseach since he became prime minister in July.

Boris Johnson said: “we will bring forward other ideas to address the full complexity of the Irish border” and he believes there is a way through that will “satisfy Ireland.”

“We are not going to have a complete breakthrough today in Ireland,” he said.

 “I’ve seen the old border and how absolutely vital it is we keep the open border, on the plan, it’s fairly obvious, we need to find a way of ensuring that the UK is not kept locked in backstop arrangement while giving Ireland the assurance that it needs.

“Whether it’s electronic pre-clearance or concept of the unity of island for agri-foods, and other ideas we’ll bring forward to address the full range.

“I don’t underestimate the technical problems but I do think there is a way through.

“The 27 will want a shared position and we respect that, but we will talk with our Irish friends how we can help that.

“It is incumbent on us as the UK to talk to Ireland,” Mr Johnson said.

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