Trump compares post-Brexit Irish border to US-Mexico border wall during meeting with Varadkar

‘The thing we want to avoid, of course, is a border wall,’ taoiseach tells US president

Adam Forrest
Wednesday 05 June 2019 19:22 BST
Donald Trump tells Irish Prime Minister 'it'll work out well with your wall, your border'

Donald Trump has compared the thorny issue of the post-Brexit Irish border to his own efforts to build a border wall along the US border with Mexico.

The US president was speaking alongside the Republic of Ireland’s prime minister Leo Varadkar when he made a series of remarks about “your wall, your border”.

The Taoiseach interjected to explain the point of his country’s stance on the Brexit negotiations was to “avoid” any walls.

Speaking at Shannon Airport, Mr Trump said: “I think [Brexit] will all work out very, and also for you with your wall, your border. We have a border situation in the United States and you have one over here. But I hear it’s going work out very well … it’s going to work out very well here.”

Mr Varadkar immediately responded by saying: “The thing we want to avoid, of course, is a border wall.”

Mr Trump then stated: “I think you do, I think you do. The way it works now is good, you want to try and to keep it that way.”

He added: “I know that’s a big point of contention with respect to Brexit. I’m sure it’s going to work out very well. I know they’re focused very heavily on it.”

Mr Varadkar’s government has been adamant there should be no return of a hard border on the island of Ireland when the UK leaves the EU.

The taoiseach greets the president at Shannon Airport 

 The taoiseach greets the president at Shannon Airport 

The Trump administration meanwhile, has been criticised for insisting on building a wall along the country’s southern border. The president declared a national emergency in February to redirect billions of dollars towards it construction.

Following their brief airport meeting, Mr Varadkar said Mr Trump understood the difficult issue of the Irish border. “He said in the meeting that he was aware that the sticking point in the negotiations, one of the most difficult points, is the issue of the Irish border - and he wants to keep that [the border] open and believes that can be done,” he told reporters after his conversation.

“He understands that has to be a shared objective, that, if the UK is going to leave with a deal, that that deal must involve legally operable guarantees that we won't see the emergence of a hard border between north and south.”

The president and first lady Melania Trump are set to spend two nights at his Doonbeg hotel and golf resort in County Clare.

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