Brexit deadlock not game of chicken, says Simon Coveney

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned soldiers could be at the border if a Brexit deal is not agreed

Protestors shut down a border road between Ireland and Northern Ireland on Saturday, erecting a concrete wall with mock-military checkpoints to illustrate the violent unrest a hard Brexit could bring to the fragile region.

Ahead of the next crucial Commons debate, Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister and deputy prime minister, insisted the backstop was "part of a balanced package that isn't going to change" insisting it was only part of the withdrawal agreement because of the UK's red lines.

In her Brexit deal with the European Union, the Irish border remains open but as Mrs May struggles to get it voted through Parliament, there are fears that the hard border will return.

The demonstration has been organised by the group Border Communities Against Brexit (BCAB).

"He was not referring to Irish personnel and the Irish Government has no plans to deploy infrastructure or personnel at the border".

A no-deal Brexit could be "extremely difficult" in the short to medium term, a junior finance minister in Prime Minister Theresa May's government said, adding that there would ostensibly have to be a hard border on the island of Ireland.

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The suspect ran down the street before police were able to take him into custody and transport him to a hospital. However, as noted, it later turned out that four officers were shot and the fifth was injured during the chaos.

"We're 60 days out from the reality of Brexit with or without a deal", said Border Communities Against Brexit organiser Tom Murray.

The picture became further confused later yesterday when a senior Fine Gael politician indicated that Irish troops could be deployed to the border in the event of a crash-out Brexit.

The Taoiseach said he had not yet seen any technologies that could ensure that no hard border emerged between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

In a worst-case scenario, a hard border could "involve people in uniform and it may involve the need, for example, for cameras, physical infrastructure, possibly a police presence, or an army presence to back it up", Varadkar said in a Bloomberg Television interview at the World Economic Forum on Friday.

"Let's not go backwards now and cause tension, and let's listen - now, this is really important, this doesn't happen enough, in my view, on the British media - let's not listen just to one political party's voice from Northern Ireland because they happen to sit in Westminster. We could work with a Canada-model with special arrangements for Northern Ireland", Mr Varadkar said.

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