Varadkar on Brexit: A deal without the backstop is not a deal

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
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Ireland cannot accept alternative arrangements to checks on the border as a replacement for the backstop, the taoiseach has said.

Leo Varadkar said he could not accept the deletion of the backstop insurance mechanism from the Withdrawal Agreement unless it had been demonstrated how such arrangements would work in practice to ensure there are no customs checks on the border.

Many Brexiteers believe technological solutions could replace the backstop. But Mr Varadkar said he could not see evidence of arrangements being outlined before the October 31 deadline for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The taoiseach made the remarks at the end of an EU summit in Brussels.

Mr Varadkar said: “We can’t accept that alternative arrangements are an alternative to a backstop unless we can see what these alternative arrangements are, know how they would work and see them demonstrated.

“That hasn’t been done yet and I don’t see that being done this side of October 31 which is why we certainly can’t accept the deletion of the backstop.”

He added: “For us, a deal without a backstop is effectively no deal because it means that there is no legal guarantee we won’t have a hard border, there is no operable mechanism by which we can avoid a hard border, it would just be a case of trying to pull it off, which I don’t think really is much of a solution.”

Mr Varadkar stressed that EU leaders had reaffirmed that the Withdrawal Agreement was not open for renegotiation a.