Leo Varadkar is back as Ireland’s Taoiseach, following a coalition deal switcheroo, and is already turning to the neverending problems seen with the Northern Ireland protocol. At a press briefing in Dublin, he told hacks that all parties – the EU, Ireland and the UK – “made mistakes in the handling of Brexit.” He specified that one error was designing the protocol as “perhaps… a little bit too strict.”
“We’ve seen that the protocol has worked without it being fully enforced.
“And that’s why I think there is room for flexibility and room for changes and we’re open to that and up for that, and I know from speaking to President Von der Leyen and Maros Sefcovic, that’s their position too.
“So, we are willing to show flexibility and to make compromises. We do want there to be an agreement.
He also tried to improve his poor image among Northern Ireland’s unionist community, many of whom blame him personally for the protocol problems:
“And, you know, I have spoken to a lot of people who come from a unionist background in Northern Ireland over the years.
“I do understand how they feel about the protocol. They feel that it diminishes their place in the Union, that it creates barriers between Britain and Northern Ireland that didn’t exist before.
“And I do understand that and I do get that.
Reacting to Varadkar’s honest statement, this morning John Redwood has said he is “glad Ireland now admits they and the EU made mistakes”, asking “will the EU now end its intransigence and drop the Protocol?” Guido reckons John will have to wish on tonight’s expected Quadrantid meteor shower to see any chance of that happening…