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Leo VaradkarCharles McQuillan/Getty Images

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said mistakes were made on all sides in the way Brexit was negotiated.

Mr Varadkar said he would be “flexible and reasonable” when attempting to solve issues with the Northern Ireland protocol.

He admitted that “perhaps” the treaty was a “little bit too strict” and that the European Union was willing to make compromises.

Mr Varadkar became PM, or taoiseach, for the second time last month.

The Fine Gael leader has been unpopular with some unionists who see him as instrumental in the creation of the contentious protocol.

Asked about this, he said: “I’m sure we’ve all made mistakes in the handling of Brexit.

“There was no road map, no manual, it wasn’t something that we expected would happen and we’ve all done our best to deal with it.”

He said he was looking forward to travelling to Northern Ireland early in the new year “in an effort to find a solution”.

The Northern Ireland protocol has been a source of tension since it came into force at the start of 2021.

Power-sharing in Northern Ireland is currently in a state of flux as a result of a Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) boycott of Stormont in protest over the protocol.

The DUP has said it would not return to devolved government unless radical changes are made to trading agreements.

The UK and EU remain in negotiations to reduce the impact of the deal.

Mr Varadkar said he understood that some unionists feel the treaty “creates barriers between Britain and Northern Ireland that didn’t exist before”.

However, he said this was also true of Brexit which was imposed without cross-community consent.

Mr Varadkar said the protocol had worked without being fully enforced which is “why I think there’s room for flexibility and room for changes”.

He said this was also the position of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and vice-president Maros Sefcovic.

Source: BBC

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