Irish Taoiseach will meet Donald Tusk to consider Brexit requests

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Irish premier Leo Varadkar will meet European Council president Donald Tusk next week in Dublin to consider any requests from the UK to delay Brexit.

The Taoiseach has already revealed how he spoke to DUP leader Arlene Foster about the party’s talks with the Conservative Government.

He hinted that the pair were both against a no-deal Brexit, but did not discuss details.

“On Wednesday at our Cabinet meeting we will be in position to sign off on a package of supports for businesses, for farmers, for the agri-food sector and for anyone who may be adversely affected by a no-deal Brexit.

“Obviously we are hoping the deal will be ratified in the House of Commons before then, but if it’s not we are ready. We’ve already passed the legislation to provide for a no-deal Brexit, we have the Common Travel Area and this package of measures to support incomes and jobs.

“It’s not going to be a case of everything being all right, Brexit is bad news.”

Donald Tusk
President of the European Council Donald Tusk (Rick Findler/PA)

But closer to home he said he hoped his discussions with Mr Tusk could help avoid a “rolling extension”.

He added: “I will have a chance to speak to him in more detail at that point and I would hope that things over the next couple of days may become a bit clearer in terms of what Westminster wants and what the British Government wants.

“I’ve always said that what I would like to avoid is a rolling extension, where there is an extension every few months, that would just add to uncertainty and wouldn’t solve the problem.

“There seems to be two emerging possibilities, one would be the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement by Westminster followed by a short extension into the summer which would allow them time to pass the necessary legislation or potentially a much longer extension of up to two years and the purpose of that would be to allow other options to be considered, for example participation in Customs Union.”

Mr Varadkar took part in Chicago’s St Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday, alongside surprise guest UFC star Conor McGregor.

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