September 22, 2017 / 4:01 PM / a year ago

Irish PM says May speech 'genuine effort to move things forward'

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Friday gave a “cautious welcome” to a speech in Florence by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who called for Britain to stay in the single market under its current terms during a two-year transition period.

“I’d give the speech a cautious welcome. I think it is a genuine effort by the prime minister to move things along and make progress,” Varadkar told journalists.

“We will of course need further clarity and further understanding as to how a transition period might work. But requesting a transition period is also a step in the right direction,” he said.

Varadkar said he was particularly happy about May’s reassertion of support for protections for Northern Ireland’s Good Friday peace deal and for a frictionless border between Ireland and Northern Ireland with no physical infrastructure.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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