Let's be open to credible Brexit proposals from Britain: Ireland's Varadkar

Brexit an opportunity for Irish unity debate, says Mary McAleese

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show yesterday he said: "In the environment where we have left without a deal where we will have imposed direct rule, which we would need to do and where we were heading towards a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, I think that puts it in some doubt - the future of Northern Ireland's place in the United Kingdom".

She said the debate is part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which states that Northern Ireland's Secretary of State may call for a referendum if it appears likely that the majority of voters would wish to leave the United Kingdom and enter into a united Ireland.

Macron said the European Union had total "unity and solidarity" with Ireland.

Speaking as the Taoiseach arrived at the Élysée Palace, President Macron insisted that the European Union "will not be held hostage" to the political crisis in the UK.

A no-deal scenario raises the question of how Ireland would retain seamless cross-border trade with British-governed Northern Ireland, with the frontier between the two becoming the only land border between Britain and the EU's single market.

The meeting between Mr Macron and Mr Varadkar was billed as an opportunity for them to exchange views on Brexit, and the French leader said: "We will never abandon Ireland and the Irish, whatever happens, because that solidarity is the very meaning of the European project".

"In the event of a crash, we have a big, big problem at the Irish border", she said.

"At the last European Council meeting, we gave the United Kingdom some time and space to come up with a way forward, as it stands they will leave the EU on April 12 without a deal".

Irish Premier Leo Varadkar travelled to Paris to meet with Emmanuel Macron, where he thanked France for its ongoing solidarity with Ireland in the hard Brexit period. He described it as the basis for peace between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Macron met Varadkar, the Irish taoiseach, to discuss no-deal plans for the Irish border as well as how to handle any extension request from Theresa May.

"We want to avoid a rolling extension - any extension must have a clear objective and plan".

"We need to be open to any proposals that she may bring forward to us", Varadkar told reporters.

He said that his government was now in talks with the European Commission regarding the ways on how to achieve both of these objectives.

The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union on 12 April, if it can not propose a way forward to the EU.

He said that the bloc wanted to avoid a "rolling extension".

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