Ireland's Varadkar says reassured by UK PM May over DUP deal

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Phillip arrive at a church in Sonning Britain

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR paid his first visit to No. 10 Downing Street today, for talks with UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

On the Brexit border problem, Mrs May said: "I am personally committed to ensuring a practical solution that recognises the unique economic, social, cultural and political context of the land border with Ireland, which so many people pass through every day".

"Everyone in Ireland knows someone, a friend or a relative, who lives in London".

"He must also tell the British Prime Minister that her government can not drag the North of Ireland out of the European Union against the democratically expressed wishes of the people".

Mr Varadkar then spoke of the tragedies that have befallen Britain in recent weeks, including the London Bridge terror attack, the Grenfell Tower fire and Sunday night's horror outside Finsbury Park Mosque.

"No one wants to see trade between our two countries diminished".

He said the last minute meetings "underline and emphasise" the strength of Ireland's relationship with the UK.

Varadkar, at a news conference with May in Downing Street, said both the British and Irish governments needed to be impartial actors in relation to Northern Ireland's power-sharing arrangements, which are now stalled.

In a joint press conference at Downing Street, he said as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, the British and Irish governments should not be too close to unionism or nationalism.

May told journalists the United Kingdom government remained "absolutely steadfast" in its commitment to the Belfast Agreement and that discussions were continuing with the DUP over a confidence and supply agreement, which would see the unionist party's 10 MPs back May's government on key votes.

Upon arriving at 10 Downing Street, Varadkar said he was reminded of a specific scene from a famous film.

He wants to avoid any adverse impact on the rights of Irish citizens and he will discuss what Brexit means or Anglo-Irish trading links and the Irish economy.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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