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United Ireland is ‘not my priority’ says country’s new prime minister



Mr Harris also addressed diplomatic tensions post-Brexit, and said that he would seek “closer relations” with the UK.

“We had very clear national ambitions going into that engagement, in terms of protecting our national interest, protecting our role in the single market, and crucially, protecting the peace process,” he said. “But I want to say this very clearly, I do want to have closer relations with Britain, with the UK government.”

He added that trade between our two countries is worth €2.5 billion (£2.1 billion) every week.

Instead, Mr Harris has said his main focus will be on “law and order”, crafting a “more planned and sustainable” immigration policy and fighting “against the dangers of populism”.

His comments on law and order come five months after a riot broke out in Dublin, in which vehicles were set on fire, shops looted and dozens arrested.

‘Heinous criminals’

Mr Harris said he would fast-track legislation to grant judges powers to make sure “heinous criminals” serve long sentences before they are considered for release.

Asked about the Israel-Hamas conflict as it reached its half-year point, Mr Harris called for an “immediate ceasefire”.

“What we’ve seen happen in Gaza and the actions of the Israeli government, is utterly reprehensible,” he said. “It’s appalling and it’s grotesque.”

He said Ireland stood ready to play its part in a “political process that brings about a two-state solution” to the conflict, adding that his country understood a lot about political solutions.

Mr Harris, an Irish government minister, was the only candidate to seek the party leadership and will face a general election by March 2025 at the latest.

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