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EXCLUSIVE: The Irish government is worried that Brexit talks could “collapse at any moment”. A senior Irish minister said they feared negotiations could break down over the border issue in a private meeting with a prominent MP this month. If this blows up over the next two months it will be over Ireland,” an EU negotiator was reported as saying. Theresa May refuses to budge on her policy to leave the customs union. LONDON — There is renewed fear within the Irish government that Brexit talks could collapse over the UK government’s refusal to consider staying in a customs union with the European Union. Senior figures in the Irish government said privately that they fear that Theresa May’s insistence on leaving the customs union will make a hard border impossible to avoid and lead to a complete break down in negotiations. A high-ranking member of the Irish government said “talks could collapse at any moment” in a meeting with a prominent British MP this month, a source familiar with the meeting has told Business Insider.
The Irish government did not wish to comment when contacted by BI. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said on Friday that border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are “unavoidable” if Britain decides to leave the customs union and single market. Once again it is important to tell the truth,” Barnier told journalists in Brussels. A UK decision to leave the single market and to leave the customs union would make border checks unavoidable. Last week, Prime Minister May categorically ruled out Britain staying in either the current customs union or a new customs union with the EU after it leaves the bloc.