Arlene Foster: We need Brexit deal that works for UK and Ireland

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said she is seeking a Brexit deal which works for the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The pro-Brexit leader of Northern Ireland’s largest unionist party travelled to Dublin to meet Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Monday.

DUP leader Arlene Foster is given a tour of  St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin by Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Glendalough, Michael Jackson.

DUP leader Arlene Foster is given a tour of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin by Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Glendalough, Michael Jackson.

Mrs Foster said she was seeking a Brexit deal which worked for the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

She added: “There have to be cool heads in what is a very febrile atmosphere.”

Mrs Foster said the EU’s backstop suggestion whereby Northern Ireland would continue to follow the bloc’s rules if no trade deal is struck would create barriers with Great Britain.

“Great Britain is our largest market by far and we cannot have barriers,” she said.

DUP leader Arlene Foster speaks to the media outside St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 15, 2018. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

DUP leader Arlene Foster speaks to the media outside St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 15, 2018. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The DUP leader said Northern Ireland sent three-and-a-half times more goods to Great Britain than to the Republic.

“So it is very important that we don’t have barriers between ourselves and the rest of Great Britain,” she added.

Mrs Foster asserted an internal barrier would not be tolerated by any other country, in reference to customs checks potentially being imposed on goods sent between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The DUP leader was holding her first meeting with Mr Varadkar for some period.

She said it was important to engage, that there was no point in standing back and shouting at each other, that understanding should be developed between unionists and the Irish government.

Mrs Foster added: “I very much hope we do get a deal, a sensible Brexit.

“One that works for Northern Ireland but also one that works for our friends and colleagues in the Republic of Ireland as well.”