Irish border agreement has to be part of Brexit deal, Juncker warns

The strength in opinion carried across political divides.

"Ireland has to be part of the deal".

A UK Government spokesman said: "When we leave the EU the whole of the UK - including Wales and Scotland - will be leaving the customs union and single market".

Addressing both houses of the Irish Parliament in Dublin, he said time was running out to find a solution to the border issue.

Across Great Britain, 62 per cent of respondents said Brexit negotiations were proceeding too slowly, with 30 per cent blaming the delays on "politicians in Britain who want a soft Brexit or to stop Brexit altogether".

"Mr Juncker's claim that "Ireland is not alone" is false security for the country which would be most severely impacted by a no deal Brexit", said DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds.

Irish economy still growing substantially but Brexit is "a major threat", says Ireland's Central Bank High levels of household and public debt also cause for concern Ireland's economy is still showing strong growth but Brexit poses major risks, according to the country's Central Bank.

It is two years since the British people voted to leave the European Union, setting in train the most momentous constitutional upheaval of the post-war era.

The next opportunity for agreement would be the December summit but that would leave the rest of the Brexit timetable looking extremely tight with ratification required from both the United Kingdom and European parliaments.

Juncker's a two-day visit to Dublin, accompanied by EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, is meant to reinforce the message that the rest of the EU will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Dublin on the border issue.

"But let's be very clear, there will be no withdrawal agreement, no transition agreement and no managed Brexit if the British government do not follow through on their clear commitments in writing to Ireland and the whole European Union as a whole".

The Luxembourgian, 63, will receive an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland and attend an official dinner hosted by Varadkar in Dublin Castle later on Thursday.

At the start of Mr Juncker's address, he joked that he wished he was drunk. It was certainly reassuring to hear that the European Union is still, and will remain, firmly behind Ireland. The U.K. wants the backstop to be time-limited but Varadkar said it could not have an "expiry date".

Last March, EU leaders gave the go ahead for talks on Britain's future relations with the bloc, including a potential trade deal, to begin. "It remains our intention to achieve a close economic partnership that does not require the backstop to be in operation".

On Friday he will meet President Michael D Higgins and visit Croke Park where he will see a demonstration of gaelic football and hurling.

  • Joey Payne