Varadkar and Johnson in Brexit backstop stand-off

The Taoiseach has told the British Prime Minister in their first phone call which took place yesterday, that the backstop is necessary as part of a Brexit agreement. Leo Varadkar and Boris Johnson spoke for the first time – 6 days after he became UK leader.

The Taoiseach reiterated the EU stance that the Withdrawal Agreement could not be reopened. He restated the need for both governments to be fully committed to the Good Friday agreement and restoration of power-sharing in the north. Leo Varadkar congratulated the Prime Minister on his appointment and invited him to Dublin.

Boris Johnson is set to meet the five main political leaders in Northern Ireland today.


A tweet by Timmy Dooley, before the Varadkar-Johnson phone call; which he later deleted read: ‘The stand-off with our nearest neighbour is as a direct result of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s failure to engage in basic diplomacy over the past two years. The Government’s lack of experience and arrogance will hurt Ireland in the coming months.’

Following the tweet (which was liked by a number of his FF party colleagues) leader Micheál Martin rebuked Dep Dooley who was accused of opening the door to Brexiteers by lashing out at the Government’s lack of Brexit diplomacy. Mr Martin said he wanted to make it “absolutely clear” his party believes new British prime minister Boris Johnson is at fault for the diplomatic stand-off after a private phone call with Mr Dooley in which he ordered his colleague to tone down the rhetoric.

Dr. Donnacha Ó Beacháin – Associate Professor at the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University and Author of ‘From Partition To Brexit: The Irish Government and Northern Ireland’ joined us live on the show to give us his reactions and thoughts to what has been going on.