Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he will be speaking to Prime Minister Boris Johnson by telephone later today to discuss the detail of his border proposals.
Asked for a reaction to Mr Johnson’s so-called ‘take it or leave it’ offer on the Brexit backstop Mr Varadkar said:
“I didn’t have a chance to hear the Prime Minister’s speech, I was in the (Dáil Éireann ) chamber, but I’ll wait till I’ve had a chance to see the written proposals and then we’ll consult with the EU commission and colleagues and decide.
“What I can say is from the leaks, it’s not promising, and does not appear to form the basis for an agreement but we’ll keep talking but I’d want to see them in writing first.
“I hope to speak to the Prime Minister later this evening.
“I expect him to talk me through the proposals, and for me to ask him to listen to the voice of the people of Northern Ireland.
“As Prime Minister he must act with impartiality and listen to all the parties of Northern Ireland, and the people of Northern Ireland, who voted against Brexit and do not want to see customs posts on the border.”
He conceded it was now inescapable that some form of customs controls would be introduced:
“It will be necessary to have checks, but we believe they should be done at ports and airports, but not along the 500km border. That’s our position and makes sense to us.
“No one on the island of Ireland wants checks at the border, why would any British government want to force that on Irish people, north and south?
“It’s much more than technical, it’s deeply political, legal, and the technical aspects are a small part of that.”
Mr Varadkar said it was still his own belief that the British Prime Minister does genuinely want a deal.