Trump says Ireland's Brexit 'wall' issue will work out

Shannon (Ireland) (AFP) –


US President Donald Trump told Ireland's prime minister that the Brexit issue over "your wall, your border" with the UK would work out well, during talks on Wednesday.

Speaking with Leo Varadkar in Shannon, southwest Ireland, Trump -- who flew there after a state visit to Britain -- raised the subject of the UK's European Union exit.

"I think it will all work out very well, and also for you with your wall, your border. I mean, we have a border situation in the United States, and you have one over here," he said.

The border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland is unmarked allowing free movement of goods and people as both states are EU members.

Varadkar responded: "I think one thing we want to avoid, of course, is a wall or border between us."

Trump then replied: "I think you do. The way it works now is good, you want to try and to keep it that way.

"That's a big point of contention with respect to Brexit. I'm sure it's going to work out very well. I know they're focused very heavily on it."

Brexit has prompted concerns that new checks will be erected at the island's frontier, providing a potential target for attacks and upsetting the fragile peace in Northern Ireland.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's government struck a deal with Brussels to keep open the border by keeping Britain economically close to the EU.

But the so-called "backstop" plan was rejected by her own lawmakers, forcing her to resign and leaving the entire Brexit process in chaos.

Britain is due to leave the EU on October 31.

Trump was asked whether he thought Brexit would be bad for Ireland, to which he replied: "I think it should be good."