Irish Will Block Brexit Deal That Involves Hard Border, PM Says

  • Border controls between north and south largely melted away
  • Brexit has raised concerns that customs posts will return

Kenny Says Ireland Won't Return to Hard Border With U.K.

Ireland will block any agreement on the terms of the U.K.’s departure from the European Union that doesn’t keep open its borders with its closest neighbor, Prime Minister Enda Kenny said.

Border controls between Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., and the south, a member of the euro area, largely melted away in the 1990s, leaving shoppers and traders free to cross back and forth. Concerns have been raised that controls will have to be reintroduced after Brexit.

After the U.K. leaves, Ireland’s 310-mile (500-kilometer) border running from near Derry in the north to Dundalk in the south will form the EU’s land border with the U.K.

“We are not returning to the borders of the past, ” Kenny, 65, said in an interview Friday with Bloomberg Television in New York. “It is a political challenge to deal with it. It will have to happen because I won’t sign for anything else.”

On the size of the U.K.’s bill when it departs the EU, Kenny said the figure is up for debate. Britain should be charged about 60 billion euros ($64 billion) when it leaves, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said last month, becoming the first EU leader to put a value on the U.K.’s Brexit bill.

“There are a range of assessments of what that bill might be,” Kenny said.

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