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Germany's Merkel to meet border residents on Brexit visit to Ireland

Germany's Merkel to meet border residents on Brexit visit to Ireland

The Taoiseach will welcome the Chancellor to Farmleigh House in Dublin this afternoon and, according to the government, the two leaders will reflect on the latest Brexit developments and look ahead to next week's crucial summit of European Union leaders.

The EU's Brexit negotiator, Mr Michel Barnier, said on Tuesday the EU was working with Ireland "on a unilateral basis in the event of a no-deal deal, to know where we can do these checks", but refused to elaborate further.

But he again reiterated his opposition to creating a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, for fear that it could jeopardise peace in the British province.

She stressed that ultimately "the solution has to be found by Great Britain itself" and expressed hope that Prime Minister Theresa May "will be successful".

"It's up to London to say it, and to say it now", the French president said, adding that "the European Union can not be held hostage to the resolution of a political crisis in the (UK) on a long-term basis".

Central to her first visit to Dublin in five years will be a round-table discussion with 15 business and community representatives from both sides of the Border.




Mr Varadkar said it was "important" to hear the voices of people who lived and worked along the Irish border.

The spokesman said the meeting was also an opportunity for the leaders to consider other issues on the EU's agenda and to reflect on how Ireland and Germany can strengthen "the already excellent relations" between the two countries.

Varadkar said, however, that the withdrawal agreement itself "cannot be reopened".

Simon Coveney said Ireland had intensified its no-deal contingency planning with the EU Commission but checks at EU ports on Irish products were not a runner.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom faces a potentially lengthy delay to Brexit, Philip Hammond said as he indicated the Tories could be prepared to compromise on a customs union.

"It's not a questions of a big stick or us being put under undue pressure, but there are reasonable questions being asked as to how we will protect the integrity of the single market and the single union".

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