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  • Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meet in Thornton Manor, Cheshire, Britain October 10, 2019.

    Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meet in Thornton Manor, Cheshire, Britain October 10, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 October 2019

In the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, then a border would have to be erected separated the Republic of Ireland from the British occupied Northern Ireland.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar was optimistic after his meeting with British premier Boris Johnson Thursday, saying that there is still a possibility for a Brexit deal by Oct. 31.

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"I think it is possible for us to come to an agreement, for us to have an agreed treaty, for us to allow the UK to leave the EU in an orderly fashion and to do so by the end of October, but there are a lot of things that are not under my control," Varadkar said, adding that he is now seeing a way to reach an agreement, hopefully, within the next few weeks.

The Irish premier emphasized that any agreement needs to be done under the consent of Northern Ireland’s people and has to ensure no customs borders on the island.

At the same time, he hoped that " what happened today will be sufficient for negotiations to resume in Brussels."

In a joint statement, both leaders said that they "could see a way to a possible deal", although Varadkar said that “in terms of how long it will take" he "cannot predict with certainty, but I believe that all parties would like to see an agreement reached next week in the Council, if possible.”

Johnson's plan for a possible end to the Irish-backstop is based on the creation of an all-Ireland “economic zone” which would allow agricultural and food products to move between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland without checks at the border, an issue that has been central to any Brexit deal.

This comes amid nervousness about the future of Ireland post-Brexit. In the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, then a border would have to be erected separated the Republic of Ireland from the British occupied Northern Ireland. This would be a violation of the Good Friday peace agreement that stipulated that there must be frictionless movement across all of Ireland, it was a key condition in getting Republican forces to lay down arms.

Yet if a deal can be agreed, it will be rushed through Parliament before the Oct. 31 deadline, with both the House of Commons and the House of Lords sitting through the night.

Johnson lost influence over Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc on Sept. 9 when a law came into force demanding he delays Brexit until 2020 unless he can make a deal is in place by Oct. 19.

It’s unclear what Johnson’s next move over Brexit will be as the law obliges him to seek a delay unless he can strike a new deal, however, the U.K. and the EU are struggling to reach a last-minute agreement before Britain's planned departure still scheduled to happen Oct. 31.

The British parliament has rejected three times the withdrawal deal agreed between the last government and the EU, deepening a three-year crisis that threatens Britain's status as one of the world's pre-eminent financial centers and a stable destination for foreign investors.

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