Leo Varadkar has backed Boris Johnson’s controversial idea of building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Irish taoiseach urged politicians to properly scrutinise the suggestions which he claimed could help alleviate the pressures on trade caused by Brexit.
Mr Varadkar even went as far as suggesting the Republic of Ireland could help pay for the bridge, saying the Republic should partially fund at least three big infrastructure projects in Northern Ireland to boost industry.
“Prime minister Johnson is genuinely interested in taking a serious look at this idea of building a bridge between Antrim and Scotland,” Varadkar told The Sunday Times.
“I know people dismiss it, but I don’t. It needs to be looked at. It needs to be at least examined.
“I’ve seen what the Chinese have got 100km-long bridges. I don’t know if it is viable but I also don’t think it should be dismissed out of hand and I know he is particularly excited about that one.”
Last month it emerged Mr Johnson had ordered his team to find out how much the bridge would cost, how it could be funded and whether it would make sense to build.
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“What we need to do is build a bridge between our islands,” he said in September.
“Why don’t we? Why don’t we?
“There is so much more we can do, and what grieves me about the current approach to Brexit is that we are just in danger of not believing in ourselves, not believing in Britain.”
Before he could build the 28-mile bridge, he would need to find out if unexploded World War Two bombs were potentially buried in its path, which is a concern that has been raised.
It was claimed the bridge could potentially cost £15 billion and would run from Larne, Northern Ireland, to south-west Scotland.
The longest bridge in the world is the Danyang-Kunshan bridge, a 102-mile viaduct on the Beijing to Shanghai high-speed railway, which cost £6.5bn to build.
Members of the DUP in Northern Ireland backed the bridge idea last year and the Department for Transport is said to have gone as far as writing up a paper on the plans, according to an investigation by Channel 4.