‘We mean what we say’: Irish PM says Brexit divorce deal is shut

FILE PHOTO: Ireland’s Prime Minister (Taoiseach) and Defence Minister Leo Varadkar speaks during a news conference after the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 21, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar strongly repeated on Friday that the European Union will not reopen the divorce agreement it has reached with Britain or drop the Northern Ireland border “backstop” clause.

“Anything a (new) British prime minister has to say in relation to resolving the Brexit impasse will get a fair hearing from me and from everyone in the European Union,” Varadkar told a news conference at a meeting of the British-Irish Council in Manchester.

“At the same time, it needs to be understood that we mean what we say, and that is that the withdrawal agreement won’t be reopened, without a backstop there will be no transition period but we are willing to examine the joint political declaration and make amendments to that that enables us to proceed to an orderly Brexit with a guarantee that there will be no hard border,” he added.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Catherine Evans

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