Irish PM says remains concerned about UK Brexit position

Ireland's Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Leo Varadkar, speaks outside Stormont House, in Belfast, Northern Ireland February 12, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Friday said he remained concerned that British Prime Minister Theresa May did not fully recognise the implications of leaving the European Union’s customs union and single market.

May in a Friday speech urged the EU to show more flexibility in talks on a relationship after Brexit, saying Britain realised it could not get all it wanted but she believed an ambitious trade deal was still possible. [nL8N1QK1TZ]

“She (May) has given a number of important reassurances today, which I welcome,” Varadkar said. “However I remain concerned that some of the constraints of leaving the Customs Union and the Single Market are still not fully recognised.”

Varadkar said he particularly welcomed May’s “clear commitment” to Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace agreement and to a December agreement to avoid a hard border between the region and the Republic of Ireland.

He said in the speech May recognised that the UK will face hard choices “given constraints between some of the UK aims and the consequences of withdrawing from the European Union.”

But while he welcomed May’ bid to secure a very close relationship with the EU after Brexit, that London needed to provide “more detailed and realistic proposals.”

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg