Taoiseach says Brexit contingency planning does not include preparing for hard border

Leo Varadkar stressed "it's prudent that every member state should plan for the worst"

Taoiseach says Brexit contingency planning does not include preparing for hard border

Leo Varadkar. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

The Taoiseach insists contingency planning for a 'no-deal' Brexit does not include a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

He was speaking after reports that an internal EU document is advising governments and stakeholders to step up planning for a 'no-deal' situation.

The issue will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting in Kerry next week.

Speaking in County Mayo today, Leo Varadkar said the Government will have more information after that meeting.

However, he added: "What we're not preparing for is a border between north and south - we've said categorically that there will not be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland."

Following the European Council summit last month, the European Council reiterated a call for "member states, Union institutions and all stakeholders to step up their work on preparedness at all levels and for all outcomes".

Mr Varadkar says it's 'prudent' that countries prepare for a worst case scenario.

He said: "At the summit in Brussels two weeks ago, in our conclusions we called on all member states to step up preparations for the possibility of a 'no deal' Brexit.

"It's not that we think that's a likely outcome - but we think it's prudent that every member state should plan for the worst."