Europe 'will want to maintain' Northern Irish peace process after Brexit - Enda Kenny

The Taoiseach described the Brexit referendum result as "a mess of complete confusion for hundreds of thousands of people"

Europe 'will want to maintain' Northern Irish peace process after Brexit - Enda Kenny

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The Taoiseach says "Europe will want to maintain the peace process" after Britain leaves the EU.

Enda Kenny spoke to Pat Kenny about Brexit, describing it as "a mess of complete confusion for hundreds of thousands of people".

He added that there is no "clear horizon" for Brexit, and that "the best place that Britain would be to have access to the Single Market, as is now - but that means they must accept one of the fundamental principles, which is migration and free movement of people". 

Mr Kenny repeated that nobody wants to see a "hard border" between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

"You might have some controls, but not in the way of a full-scale stopping of every vehicle," he said.

He stressed that negotiations will not start until Theresa May triggers Article 50.

"I think that when those discussions do start, they will not be completed within two years," he predicted.

The Taoiseach said there is going to be a further "spike" in the number of people applying for an Irish passport.

"The Irish Ambassador in Britain, Dan Mullhall, confirmed to me a doubling of numbers over the last couple of month. That kind of paper being prepared by the British government will mean a further spike in applications for Irish passports."

He suggested that Ireland would not be able to 'thwart' the UK leaving the union.

"There are discussions as to whether the dissolved assemblies - Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland - could actually veto a Brexit," he explained. "There's also the question [over] some of the Channel Islands - their allegiance is to the Crown.

"I don't think Ireland as a Republic could actually put an end to Brexit, because it's their decision," he added.

Mr Kenny also argued that there could be European support for the Northern Irish peace process in the aftermath of Brexit.

"The peace process is the one thing that all Europeans do understand, and it is the fulcrum through which continued assistance, subsidy and subvention to Northern Ireland could come," he observed.

"Europe will want to maintain the peace process [...] I'd see a mechanism of stabilising and sustaining the peace process."

Watch the full interview with Enda Kenny on the Newstalk Facebook page.