DUBLIN, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Ireland might consider adding elements to the text of an agreement on the post-Brexit future of Northern Ireland’s border as long as they do not undermine those already contained in the deal, the Irish Times reported on Tuesday.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has found it difficult to come up with a formula that satisfies both EU member Ireland, which wants to avoid creation of a “hard” border, and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which says the British province must quit the EU on the same terms as the rest of the UK. The DUP props up May’s minority government.
A tentative deal on the border, promising “regulatory alignment” on both sides of the island of Ireland, was agreed on Monday. It was later rejected by the DUP, which says it cannot allow any divergence in regulation between Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK.
Brussels says agreement is needed before it will give the green light for Britain to begin talks on future free trade when European Union leaders meet next week.
The Irish Times quoted a spokesman for Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar as saying the adding of elements to assuage the concerns of the DUP “doesn’t seem unreasonable” and was “a possibility.” The Irish Times suggested such an element might refer to the strength of the UK as a political entity.
Asked to comment on the report, a spokesman for Varadkar said “the view of the Irish government is that the terms of the deal reached on Monday must stand.”
“It’s up to the UK government to work out with the DUP how it proposes to move forward,” the spokesman added.
Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Peter Cooney