March 16, 2020 / 5:25 PM / 3 months ago

Ireland will not close border with north as it mulls EU restrictions - government

DUBLIN, March 16 (Reuters) - Ireland will never close its border with British-run Northern Ireland, even as it assesses the European Union executive’s proposed coronavirus restrictions on incoming travel to the bloc, a government spokesman said on Monday.

The spokesman said it is envisaged in the first instance that the restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU would be applied by Schengen countries, with non-Schengen states such as Ireland having the option of applying them too.

“The government will assess the proposals in the context of the Common Travel Area (with Britain) and, in particular, any implications they might have for movement of people on the island,” he said, following a call between Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and EU Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen.

“Under no circumstances will a closure of the land border North/South be considered,” the spokesman added, referring to the open border between it and Northern Ireland. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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