Merkel vows to fight 'till last hour' to avoid no-deal Brexit

EU top official: UK to 'face abyss' after failure to back Brexit options

Let's be open to credible Brexit proposals from Britain: Ireland's Varadkar

Barely a third of the public in Great Britain hope Northern Ireland would vote to remain in the United Kingdom, while one in six people said they would prefer it left and joined the Republic of Ireland following any future referendum on removing the Irish border.

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, arrives in Ireland today for talks with the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, which will be dominated by Brexit.

Simon Coveney said Ireland had intensified its no-deal contingency planning with the EU Commission but checks at EU ports on Irish products were not a runner.

She has previously urged European Union officials to expedite work on how to secure the EU's single market if a disorderly Brexit occurs.

"We've set out clearly to Mr Barnier and others that any hardening of that border would represent a step backwards for Ireland".

After a broadly successful meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, Mr Varadkar will be hoping Ms Merkel will send a message to European Union colleagues by playing down the possibility of checks at the Irish Border in a no-deal scenario.

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"We don't want Ireland to be a back door to the single market, anymore than anybody wants us to become a back door to the single market", Varadkar said after a meeting in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.

He also described it as "timely" that Prime Minister Theresa May had reached out to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Speaking in the Irish parliament, Mr Varadkar said: "I don't know if Mr Corbyn will rise to the occasion, whether he will show leadership and be able to come up with a compromised plan with Prime Minister May. What I mean by that is checks in European Union ports on all Irish products, that is not a runner and would cause significant damage to our economy so we will not allow it".

"If there is a no-deal Brexit, whatever issues arise will be seen as shared problems,"he added".

There is flexibility within the EU's Customs Code which could allow customs formalities and tariff collection to happen away from the border.

That is there in black and white: Council Directive 97/78/EC. "That is the right and best place for them", he said.

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