January 9, 2019 / 4:52 PM / 6 months ago

Irish PM dismisses backstop veto proposal for Northern Irish assembly

Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) and Defence Minister Leo Varadkar stands for the national anthem during his official visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The Irish government could not accept a situation in which Northern Ireland’s devolved assembly held a veto over the “backstop” insurance mechanism aimed at keeping the Irish border open after Brexit, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said.

The British government failed to win over its Northern Irish allies on Wednesday with the concession to give the province’s assembly “a strong role” in any decision between triggering the backstop or extending a transition period if a future EU/UK relationship is not in place by December 2020.

“I don’t think we can have a situation whereby the Northern Ireland executive or assembly has a veto power because that would essentially give one of the two communities veto power over the other,” Varadkar told reporters on a visit to Ethiopia, adding that he had not yet had a chance to read the proposal.

Reporting by Aaron Maasho, Writing by Padraic Halpin in Dublin, Editing by Catherine Evans

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