United Kingdom rejects Dublin's plan for Irish Sea border after Brexit

A mock customs post set up at Ravensdale Co Louth when anti Brexit campaigners held a protest earlier this year

He added: "I think I said before to you, we're mad but we're not that mad and we're not going to do that now or in the future".

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is said to be furious following the report, published Friday in the Times, that Ireland wants the Irish Sea to act as the post-Brexit border with the UK.

Politicians in London, Dublin, Belfast and Brussels have all said they want to avoid the return of a "hard border" on the divided island, although no progress has yet been made.

"There is no realistic solution that has been put forward yet", he said, adding he is anxious the issue has not been examined to the extent it requires.

The comments are likely to stun the United Kingdom government who have until now been working closely with Dublin to devise what Prime Minister Theresa May has described as a "frictionless border". "The objectives of protecting the Good Friday agreement in all its parts and the gains of the peace process are shared by all sides", they added. But what we are not going to do is design a border for the Brexiteers. "It's up to them to say what it is, say how it would work and first of all convince their own people, their own voters that this is actually a good idea", Mr Varadkar said.

"A year has gone by and very little has happened".

"It is the British and the Brexiteers who are leaving, so if anyone should be angry it's us quite frankly".

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"That is a very high priority to us because the peace process in Ireland is extremely important to us".

But Simon Coveney denied that the Irish government preferred that option.

"The answer to how to deliver that can not be to create a border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain".

Before the Taoiseach's border plans came to light, the Irish Ambassador to the United Kingdom had told Sky News his country hoped the United Kingdom would reconsider exiting the single market and the customs union in order to swiftly dismiss talks about a hard border.

"They need to go back to that and to think carefully about their obligation to abide by that agreement and not be seen to try and undermine it".

In response to Mr Varadkar's comments, a spokesman for Britain's Department for Exiting the European Union said: "Finding a solution to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is a top priority, which we want to address early in the negotiations".

"The Irish government, the British Government and indeed the European Union Commission all share an ambition to ensure that we do not reinstate any kind of hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland", he told Sky News.

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