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Leo Varadkar 'very confident' border will remain passport-free after Brexit

Leo Varadkar said he is "very confident" there will not be passport controls between the north and south following Brexit. Picture by Peter Morrison, PA Wire
Andrew Madden

THE Taoiseach has said he is "very confident" there will not be passport controls introduced between the north and south following Brexit.

Leo Varadkar’s words came following the former Irish president Mary McAleese’s assertion that ID cards will have to be introduced for those crossing the border following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Speaking to RTÉ, the north Belfast-born legal expert said that "sooner or later" the pressure will mount to introduce border checks.

"How are they going to differentiate between me, the person who is entitled to plead the Common Travel Area, and the person from France or Germany who is crossing the border at Newry or Derry?" she said.

"Immigration control is a very strong part of the Brexit narrative, that’s my problem. My view is that sooner or later pressure will come on to make it an ID card phenomenon."

In response, Leo Varadkar said he is "very confident" there will not be passport controls between the north and south.

"We want to stay in the Common Travel Area, which allows people to travel freely between north and south and between Britain and Ireland," he said.

"So while there will be a big debate and difficult negotiations around issues such as trade and the financial settlement, the fact that Dublin, Belfast, London and Brussels want to continue passport free travel between Northern Ireland and Ireland gives me absolute assurance this will be the case.

"I understand Ms McAleese’s concerns, but one area I am very sure about is that there won’t be a passport required to travel throughout Ireland."

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