Tue, 23 Apr 2019

Taoiseach says Ireland holding nerve, despite Brexit

Conor Trindle
24 Mar 2019, 16:35 GMT+10

CO. WEXFORD, Ireland - Irish premier Leo Varadkar said Saturday that Brexit will define the UK for the next generation.

The taoiseach was delivering a speech to the Fine Gael conference in Wexford.

"The last two-and-a-half years, the last two-and-half months, even the last two-and-a-half days have seen many twists and turns in the Brexit saga," he said.

"Throughout all of it, we have stayed firm. We have held our nerve and we have stayed the course."

Earlier in the day, tthe BBC reported Varadkar as saying there were "rough and preliminary" plans in place to avoid a hard border on on the Ireland/Northern Ireland border if there is a no deal Brexit.

Varadka took aim at domestic opponents in his speech, describing Fianna Fil a "a party of no ideas, no policies, no alternatives."

"In contrast, Sinn Fin is a party with plenty of ideas and policies. Bad ones," he said.

"And I can tell you tonight that under no circumstances will Fine Gael enter Government with Sinn Fin."

The taoiseach reaffirmed plans for a referendum in the autumn to allow Irish nationals living overseas to vote in presidential elections.

"I know that there are mixed feelings about it and it's a referendum that won't be easily won. But I am sure it's the right thing to do," he said.

"There's no such thing as a second class Irish citizen. I believe an Irish citizen in Belfast, or Sydney or Chicago is every bit as Irish as one in Wexford or Dublin or Galway."

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