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Irish PM skeptical of Johnson's Brexit plans

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Irish PM skeptical of Johnson's Brexit plans

Irish PM skeptical of Johnson's Brexit plans

Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has expressed doubt that Boris Johnson's new Brexit plans will work.

Joe Davies reports.

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Irish PM skeptical of Johnson's Brexit plans

Britain's latest proposals on Brexit have been met with cautious skepticism in the EU - with officials doubtful Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan could yield an agreement by the end of October, but also keen to not dismiss them out of hand, and risk being blamed if the UK crashes out of the bloc.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) UK PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON SAYING: "We have made a genuine attempt to bridge the chasm, to reconcile the apparently irreconcilable, and to go the extra mile as time runs short." Johnson unveiled his proposals on Wednesday (October 3) - which would include creating an all Ireland regulatory zone covering the whole island of Ireland, whilst also keeping Northern Ireland part of the UK customs territory, not the EU customs union.

If you're not sure how that would work, you're not alone.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is also confused.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) IRISH PRIME MINISTER, LEO VARADKAR, SAYING: "I don't fully understand how we could have Ireland and Northern Ireland in separate customs unions and avoid tariffs, checks and customs posts on trade between north and south so we need to tease that through." Ensuring that there is no physical infrastructure or border checks is seen as a key part of any deal.

That's to avoid endangering the Good Friday Agreement, that ended three decades of conflict in Northern Ireland.

Vardkar said Johnson's assurances on Thursday (October 3) that he was not proposing any new physical infrastructure were in contradiction with the papers he issued on Wednesday.



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