Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed today that there will be no hard border with the United Kingdom following the Brexit vote
The Irish PM met with his British counterpart, Theresa May, in Downing Street to discuss the repercussions of last month’s EU referendum.
Both leaders agreed that there would be no return to the borders of the past on the island of Ireland, a position that Mrs May also stated during her visit to Belfast yesterday.
“Customs posts and customs checks – there will be no return to the hard border of the past,” Mr Kenny said.
“I do not favour and do not agree to a hard border and neither does the prime minister.”
He added that although the negotiations are bound to be complex, Ireland will work with the whole of the UK to ensure that both parties can benefit.
“We intend to work with the prime minister and all our partners in the EU and in the Northern Ireland Executive to make sure we can achieve the best outcome in the forthcoming negotiations,” he said.
“We want the upcoming negotiation process to end with a prosperous and outward-looking United Kingdom which retains a close relationship with the EU.
“Neither I nor the prime minister are in any doubt about the complexities of the negotiations that lie ahead of us all, nor do we underestimate the importance of the issues involved for all of our citizens.”
The Taoiseach congratulated Mrs May on her recent appointment and added that, although the referendum result was not the one he wanted, he “respects the decision of the UK electorate”.
He explained how the meeting, the first involving the new prime minister and a foreign leader in London, had been a success and he extended an invitation for a future conference in Dublin.
The two have agreed to engage in annual bi-lateral meetings and promised to work closely together in the upcoming months.
Mrs May said it was important that the two countries work together to maintain the peace process and uphold the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
“It is in all our interests to work together to safeguard our national security and the outcome of the referendum will not undermine it,” she said.
“We are both fully committed to working together in support of the Northern Ireland Executive to build a better, stronger, safer future for the people of Northern Ireland.
“Indeed, it is vital that we keep up the momentum on tackling paramilitary groups and building a shared future.
“And today we have reaffirmed our commitment to establishing a new Independent Reporting Commission by the end of this year, which will support these efforts.”
She added that Britain was committed to Brexit, but also that it would make a success out of the decision to leave.
She also explained the important, special relationship between Ireland and the UK and how it was vital to preserve such a bond.
“Trade between the United Kingdom and Ireland is worth almost £1bn each week, supporting 400,000 jobs across our islands,” she said.
“We’ve agreed today that we both want to maintain the closest possible economic relationship in the future.”