Merkel: Germany stands with Ireland on Brexit

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at meeting with Michel Barnier

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at meeting with Michel Barnier

"For 34 years I lived behind the Iron Curtain, so I know only too well what it means once borders vanish, once walls fall".

However, her comments came against continuing uncertainty in the United Kingdom and growing fears in Brussels that a disorderly Brexit is inevitable.

Senior officials were also briefing that checks on animals and food produce, including milk, will have to take place.

Mr Varadkar said Ireland was exploring the possibility of conducting regulatory checks away from the border, potentially on business premises. "We will do everything in order to prevent a no-deal Brexit", she told the press conference held at Farmleigh House, a state guest house of Ireland, which is located next to the scenic Phoenix Park in west Dublin.

"We are working on this and we have very good partners in the Commission, with Michel Barnier and Jean-Claude Juncker, who are putting everything into finding a good ending, finding mutual solutions, so we will find this together".

While Merkel said she hoped the discussions in London will lead to a "common position" by next Wednesday when the European Union gathers for a summit.

Peter Sheridan, chief executive of Co-operation Ireland and a former assistant chief constable with the PSNI, who mediated the meeting, says Ms Merkel reflected on her own life growing up in East Germany.

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Government sources said the solidarity shown by the two superpowers meant that Ireland's standing with the EU Council is as "strong as ever".

He said the United Kingdom and Ireland would find themselves in a "dilemma" in the event of a no-deal because they would have to balance obligations under trade rules to check goods and obligations under the Good Friday Agreement to keep the Irish border open.

"The reason we came up with the backstop is because it is the solution and, even in the event of a no-deal we will be saying to the UK "You still have obligations under the Good Friday Agreement, you still committed to full regulatory alignment back in December 2017 and we still want the arrangements that are in the backstop to apply", he said.

It is unlikely an European Union 27 country will veto a United Kingdom request for a delay to Brexit, the Irish prime minister has said.

"On the German side, and here we are in full agreement with Ireland, we want good, intensive relations", she stressed.

"There is very little time left and we have to prepare ourselves for all outcomes".

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