September 22, 2017 / 4:21 PM / a month ago

Irish PM says May speech 'genuine effort to move things forward'

Irish Prime Minister Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Friday gave a “cautious welcome” to a speech in Florence by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who called for Britain to stay in the single market under its current terms during a two-year transition period.

“I’d give the speech a cautious welcome. I think it is a genuine effort by the prime minister to move things along and make progress,” Varadkar told journalists.

“We will of course need further clarity and further understanding as to how a transition period might work. But requesting a transition period is also a step in the right direction,” he said.

Varadkar said he was particularly happy about May’s reassertion of support for protections for Northern Ireland’s Good Friday peace deal and for a frictionless border between Ireland and Northern Ireland with no physical infrastructure.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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