‘No need for us to get involved in act of insanity’

Former Taoseach Bertie Ahearn has said there is no chance of Ireland leaving the EU, saying: “We are mad, but we are not that mad.”

Irish premier Leo Varadkar has said a border in the Irish Sea was the only way to guarantee freedom of movement of goods and people on the island of Ireland.

While British Chancellor Philip Hammond said it was a high priority for all to avoid having a border on the island of ireland.

DUP MP Ian Paisley has said the only option available is either a hard border, or Ireland “wise up” and leave the EU.

Former Taoseach Bertie Ahearn said there was “no chance” of Ireland following Britain out of the union.

“We are mad, but we are not that mad,” he told Sky News.

“Thankfully there is no support for that act of insanity. There is no prospect of Ireland leaving the EU either now or in the future.”

He said it would be “unacceptable” to have a hard border on the Island of Ireland, but that the issue of moving goods needed consideration.

“We all want the border to remain as it is, no one wants to see a border or checkpoints. It is a worry and everyone is good intentioned. But the difficultly is the experts say it is impossible.

“Until we have resolution… there is uncertainty and it is worrying for all kinds of reasons; for business, for those working in the north and living in the south and for tourists who travel around the island.”

He said that while there was “lots of good will” there had been no credible proposal on how to solve the problem of the border between the EU and the UK post Brexit.

“It is easy for people to say unite the country or put the border off the coast.

“There is no realistic proposal that I have seen. Have they looked at the difficulties and the constitutional position? I worry the issue has not been examined to the extent that is required.

“We should have been trying in the past 12 months to get a hard position between Ireland the UK and put that to the EU. And that has not been done and it is a mistake that needs rectified.”

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