October 1, 2019 / 2:49 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Varadkar glad customs posts not part of British government's plan to replace backstop

(Adds additional comments and context)

DUBLIN, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Ireland’s prime minister on Tuesday welcomed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s denial that Britain intends to propose putting customs posts on the Irish border as part of a plan to replace the contentious “backstop” insurance policy.

“I very much welcome Prime Minister Johnson’s words today when he disowned and distanced himself from those non-papers,” said Leo Varadkar, referring to British technical documents.

“Had he not, in my view, it would have been hard evidence of bad-faith on behalf of the British government.”

Varadkar said the British government promised Ireland and the European Union in December 2017 that there would be no hard border and no physical infrastructure or associated controls or check.

“And we expect the British government to honour that commitment made in the good faith in the withdrawal agreement.”

Irish national broadcaster RTE reported on Monday that Britain proposed in a so-called “non-paper”, to set up “customs clearance centres” on both sides of the Irish border after Brexit in order to avoid the need for checks on the border itself.

Varadkar said he was aware of the existence of the non-papers that the UK provided to the EU taskforce, and that they were to be kept confidential and not shared with member states.

Reporting by Graham Fahy; Editing by Alison Williams and Giles Elgood

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