`No-Deal Brexit' could lead to United Ireland, says Irish PM Leo Varadkar
29 July 2019
As Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares for Britain’s exit from the European Union with or without a deal, scrapping the Irish backstop as well, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said a no-deal Brexit could lead to a united Ireland.
With a no-deal Brexit, more people in Northern Ireland would "come to question the union" with Britain, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said.
While Johnson said the current Brexit deal was unacceptable and set preparations for leaving the EU without the Irish backstop, Varadkar said this could make people in Northern Ireland, which is part of Britain, apprehensive of the after effects.
A hard Brexit would create a hard border between the two Irelands. Independent Ireland, which is heavily trade-dependent, stands to lose most from a hard EU-UK split.
Varadkar warned a no-deal Brexit could see more people in the North question the union with England, Scotland and Wales.
"People who you might describe as moderate nationalists or moderate Catholics who were more or less happy with the status quo will look more towards a united Ireland," Varadkar said Friday at a summer school in county Donegal, the Irish Independent newspaper and other media reported.
Ireland's Taoiseach has said Britain will not secure a free trade deal with the EU without the Irish border backstop and warned new Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the position of Dublin and the EU had not changed.
"And increasingly you see liberal Protestants, liberal unionists starting to ask the questions as to where they feel more at home.
"Is it in a nationalist Britain that's talking about potentially bringing back the death penalty and things like that? Or is it part of a common European home and part of Ireland?" asked Vardakar.
Vardakar said there could be no Brexit deal without the Irish backstop, which Johnson is committed to abolishing.
"I think one of the things ironically that could really undermine the union is a hard Brexit, both for Northern Ireland and for Scotland. That's a problem they're going to have to face," the Independent quoted Varadkar as saying.
Separately, Ireland's foreign minister said on Friday that Johnson had deliberately set Britain on a "collision course" with the EU over Brexit negotiations.
"He seems to have made a deliberate decision to set Britain on a collision course with the European Union and with Ireland in relation to the Brexit negotiations," Simon Coveney was quoted by Irish state broadcaster RTE as saying.
European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker told Johnson on Thursday that EU officials have no mandate to renegotiate the Brexit withdrawal agreement, and chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said eliminating the Irish backstop was "unacceptable".