Varadkar Told to 'Dial Down the Rhetoric' over Irish Border Comments

Mock wall to be built on Irish border today during Brexit protest

Varadkar said that while Ireland is open to discussions, "The objective is avoiding a hard border".

But the Irish government and rest of the EU's member states have insisted the deal is not up for renegotiation.

"We want a legal guarantee and an operable mechanism which will ensure that we don't lose all the progress that's been made over the last 20 years in Ireland in terms of our peace process and the Good Friday Agreement", Varadkar said. British Prime Minister Theresa May faces another bruising week in Parliament as lawmakers plan to challenge her minority Conservative government for control of Brexit policy.

"He was not referring to Irish personnel and the Irish Government has no plans to deploy infrastructure or personnel at the border".

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"The Taoiseach has consistently ruled out a border poll on Irish unity".

Protestors shut down a border road between Ireland and Northern Ireland on Saturday, erecting a concrete wall with mock-military checkpoints to illustrate the violent unrest a hard Brexit could bring to the fragile region.

'Communities could be dragged back into the old days of living in the shadow of someone else's border.

Irish politician Leo Varadkar reacts during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 24, 2019.

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His comments were criticised by DUP MP Gregory Campbell as "deeply unhelpful", while Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald said Mr Varadkar's remarks were "reckless and irresponsible".

"A hard border would devastate the economy and communities right along the border area", he said.

He added that Brexiteers who were against the backstop, but also claimed that they were against a hard border, were being contradictory.

Although originally Northern Ireland-specific, it was made UK-wide at the request of May, he said. "Ireland has the same position as the European Union now, I think, when we say that the backstop as part of the Withdrawal Agreement is part of a balanced package that isn't going to change". "We could work with a Canada-model with special arrangements for Northern Ireland", Mr Varadkar said.

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