May vows ‘practical solution’ to Irish border post-Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May met with Irish leaders in Belfast. Picture: PA
Prime Minister Theresa May met with Irish leaders in Belfast. Picture: PA
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Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to find a “practical solution” to managing the Irish border following Brexit, insisting nobody wanted a return to the barriers and check-points of the past.

Mrs May said she recognised the particular circumstance presented by Northern Ireland’s land border with the Republic of Ireland – an EU member state – after she held talks with the region’s political leaders at Stormont Castle.

“Nobody wants to return to the borders of the past,” she said. “What we do want to do is to find a way through this that is going to work and deliver a practical solution for everybody – as part of the work that we are doing to ensure that we make a success of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union – and that we come out of this with a deal which is in the best interests of the whole of the United Kingdom.”

The Prime Minister heard contrasting views on the way forward post-referendum from Brexit-backing First Minister Arlene Foster and Remain-supporting Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness as they discussed the fall-out in a region where the majority (56 per cent) voted for the UK to stay in the EU.

Democratic Unionist Mrs Foster said she welcomed Mrs May’s pledge to fully consult with the Stormont Executive on the negotiations with the EU, but Sinn Fein’s Mr McGuinness said he told her Brexit brought “no good news whatsoever” and the outcome of the vote in Northern Ireland had to be respected.