Brexit could take up to 5 years to achieve: Enda Kenny

The Taoiseach was speaking at the British Irish Council Summit in Wales

Brexit could take up to 5 years to achieve: Enda Kenny

L-R: Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire, First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones, Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness, during a press conference at the British Irish Council summit. | Image: Ben Birchall PA Wire/PA Images

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has warned that Brexit could take up to five years to achieve.

Speaking at the British Irish Council Summit in Wales today, he said the two-year period allowed for talks will probably not be enough to resolve all the issues.

"It's more detailed, and unforeseen issues than people might have imagined", he said. "So I would expect the divorce, as it's called to take place but that there be a transition period and a new relationship founded between the UK and the EU.

"That transition period might take longer than people expect."

He also said that as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, Ireland must see its conditions continue to be implemented post Brexit.

Earlier this week, Mr Kenny said that Brexit could result in an "uncomplicated route" to a united Ireland at a Fine Gael fundraising event according to The Irish Times.

A spokesperson for Enda Kenny later said he was not advocating a united Ireland but rather pointing out the logic of the situation, and the processes of the Good Friday Agreement still apply.

L-R: Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness and the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, during a press conference at the British Irish Council summit. Image: Ben Birchall PA Wire/PA Images

Leaders from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales were all present at the 28th summit. British Prime Minister Theresa May did not attend the event.

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness criticised Mrs May's decision not to attend, saying he felt it was a missed opportunity on her behalf.