Leo Varadkar ‘reassured’ about DUP deal

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Varadkar and May shaking hands

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Last week Mr Varadkar said he would raise concerns about the potential deal

The new Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) has said he has been “reassured” about a potential deal between the Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party.

Leo Varadkar held talks with Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday.

Last week, he said he would raise concerns about the deal.

He said as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, the British and Irish governments should not be too close to unionism or nationalism.

Speaking at a joint press conference, Mr Varadkar said he did express his concerns to Mrs May and was “very reassured”.

Mrs May said that talks were continuing with the DUP and that any deal, when reached, would be made public and would not impact the UK government’s impartiality in talks to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland.

The prime minister needs the DUP’s 10 MPs to prop up her minority government.

She repeated that the parties were working on a “supply and demand” deal.

The two leaders expressed their desire for the parties in Northern Ireland to meet the deadline for talks of 29 June.

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PA

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Leo Varadkar, 38, is the youngest ever leader of the Republic of Ireland

During their meeting at Downing Street, Mrs May and Mr Varadkar also discussed the impact of Brexit on the British and Irish border.

Mrs May said: “No one wants to see trade between our two countries diminished. I remain committed to finding a practical solution to the land border in Northern Ireland after Brexit.”

Mr Varadkar said: “While there will be a political border between our two countries, there should not be an economic one and any border that does exist should be invisible.”

Mr Varadkar also offered condolences from the Irish people and the Irish government to all those affected by the recent tragedies in London.

He said: “Everyone in Ireland knows someone, a friend or a relative, who lives in London.

“When there is an attack on London, we in Ireland feel it is almost an attack on us as well.”

The meeting comes as the UK starts its Brexit negotiations with the EU.

Subjects for the negotiations include the status of expats, the UK’s “divorce bill” and the Northern Ireland border.

Mr Varadkar also confirmed that during discussions with the DUP Leader Arlene Foster in Dublin last week he raised the issue of equal marriage in Northern Ireland.

He said there was “not a meeting of minds ” and he said he raised the issue of a petition of concern being used to block equal marriage.

Mr Varadkar added “it is not a matter of if , but when, as far as Northern Ireland goes.”

Leo Varadkar ‘reassured’ about DUP deal}

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