Ireland will not accept checks on Irish goods at European Union ports - minister

Thousands attend Border Communities Against Brexit protests against possible return of a hard border to the island of Ireland

A special summit of European Union leaders has been scheduled for April 10 to assess the latest twists in the Brexit saga.

Dr Merkel is expected to express strong solidarity with the Irish government, but - no doubt - she will also question the Taoiseach about how Ireland hopes to achieve its twin objectives, in a no deal scenario, of protecting the EU's Single Market while also ensuring there's no return to the borders of the past.

She has been, as the taoiseach said an "unwavering ally", and most supportive of the Northern Ireland peace process.

As debates over the future of the Irish border intensify, one fifth said they would prefer if the nation left and joined the Republic of Ireland following any future referendum on the Irish border.

Mr Varadkar said it was "important" to hear the voices of people who lived and worked along the Irish border.

"My trip to Ireland is to the country which..."

Ireland won’t be ‘back door’ into EU if no-deal Brexit: Irish PM

Mr Varadkar, who met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Tuesday, said he was "heartened" by the continuing "enormous French support" for Ireland during the Brexit negotiations.

Speaking in the Irish parliament, Mr Varadkar said: "I don't know if Mr Corbyn will rise to the occasion, whether he will show leadership and be able to come up with a compromised plan with Prime Minister May".

Merkel will use her trip to meet Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to consider the border situation and how to prevent a no-deal "hard Brexit", she said on Wednesday. "It is far from ideal, it is not close to being a good a deal as remaining in the European Union, but it does give us all certainty for the future".

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday that the European Union should be open to "any proposals" that United Kingdom prime minister Theresa May might bring forward to resolve the Brexit impasse.

"The UK should now indicate the way forward or indicate a plan", Barnier said.

Struggling to find majority support for her Brexit deal, May said on Tuesday she would ask the European Union for a further delay to Brexit beyond April 12 in a fresh attempt to end the deadlock.

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