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Ireland: We won’t concede to save Theresa May’s back(stop)

THE Republic of Ireland says it is prepared to risk a no-deal Brexit bringing a hard border to Northern Ireland rather than make further concessions on the backstop.

Neale Richmond, head of the parliament’s Brexit committee, said his country would not make more compromises to win support for Theresa May’s deal.

It follows pressure to drop its insistence on a backstop that could keep Northern Ireland in the single market and customs union indefinitely.

‘We’ve made countless changes and I really resent the fact that it is all being thrown on Ireland at this stage,’ he told Radio 4’s Today Programme.

‘We never want the backstop to come into force. It is an insurance policy but it is a vitally important insurance policy to ensure there is no hardening of the border and preserves what is a very, very fragile peace agreement.’

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said peace in Northern Ireland was ‘more important than Brexit’.

‘Even in a no-deal situation, every party and every MP in the UK will have a responsibility to ensure there is no return to a hard border and Northern Ireland is protected,’ he said. ‘That won’t be easy.’