Europe

Leo Varadkar warns business of growing no-deal Brexit risk

Leo Varadkar Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Mr Varadkar was addressing the Dáil on Wednesday

The taoiseach (Irish prime minister) has told the Dáil (Irish parliament) business cannot assume everything "will be alright on the night" in terms of the UK's exit from the EU.

Leo Varadkar said he is confident a no-deal Brexit can be avoided.

However, he added that preparation would still have to be made for such an eventuality at the end of October.

Mr Varadkar's comments come after Theresa May announced she will stand down from her position on 7 June.

NI impasse

On Northern Ireland, he said there is "a small but real window" for an agreement to restore devolution in the ongoing all-party talks.

He added that he and Prime Minister Theresa May are "very keen" that the impasse is resolved.

Mr Varadkar told the House that he and Mrs May had hoped to do a stock-taking of the all-party talks at the end of May, but it may now take place in early June.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Varadkar said he and Prime Minister Theresa May are "very keen" that the NI impasse is resolved

The taoiseach said he will meet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday and is keen to hear what he has to say about Northern Ireland, Brexit and current British politics.

Trump visit

Mr Varadkar also said he looks forward to discussing free trade with President Trump when he visits Ireland next week.

He said the American president's current focus is on China, but he may turn to the EU later in the year.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Irish PM Leo Varadkar last met the US president during St Patrick's Day celebrations in Washington DC in March

He told the House that the EU 28 need to be ready for that.

The taoiseach added that he believes strongly in free trade as it makes everybody better off and creates more jobs.

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