Varadkar runs into a wall over post-Brexit border

Border business...Leo Varadkar and Donald Trump have contrasting views.

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

When Donald Trump met Leo Varadkar during his visit to Doonbeg last month he made what appeared to be one of his regular gaffes – implying that Ireland also wanted to build a border wall just like he did in the US.

“I think that will all work out, it will all work out very well and also for you, with your wall, your border,” he said.

“I mean we have a border situation in the United States. And you have one over here but I hear it’s going to work out very well. I think it’s both going to work out well, it’s going to work out very well here.”

The Taoiseach pounced quicker than Aidan O’Shea on a contested ball in midfield against Galway last weekend.  “We want to avoid any wall or border,” he intervened.

But Trump might have been more prescient than we give him credit for. He’s the guy who wants a wall and isn’t getting one. Varadkar is the guy who doesn’t want a wall and now looks likely to get one.

This week the Government discussed a truly bracing document, a 100-page document spelling out the realities of what a No Deal Brexit will mean for Ireland.

The irony of this isn’t lost on anyone.

Because if you look back over the past two years, Leo Varadkar has consistently denied this was going to be the outcome for Ireland, always insisting that a deal was possible, likely, gettable.

In fairness to him, politicians trade on hope and best possible outcomes. He was hardly going to start going to predict doom and gloom when there was still a sliver of hope there could be a deal.

Of course, there is still a tiny bit of hope. Boris Johnston is so unpredictable in his views (and even more flakey when it comes to principles) that you could not gainsay him making good on his promise to leave the EU on October 31, deal or no deal.

That said, the realpolitik now is that – with a desperately divided parliament, a desperately divided Tory party, and a desperately divided the Labour Party – the prospect of a disorderly Brexit is far more likely than an orderly one.

That’s been the scenario for a long, long time and the Government, particularly Leo Varadkar, have been very slow to recognise this.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney was always more guarded in his predictions of the outcome of the process – but not Varadkar.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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