Taoiseach Mr Varadkar faced criticism for being “petty” and “un-statesmanlike” after his jibe as he responded to a Twitter user who sent him a foul-mouthed message, citing loans the UK had given to Ireland during the financial crisis.
The social media user, who has 28 followers, posted: “What the f*** can you, a country who borrowed millions off the UK, just to survive, offer anybody, you are having a laugh, another bad Irish joke.”
Replying, Mr Varadkar appeared to mock post-Brexit Britain as he suggested Ireland is ready to come to the UK’s rescue if it suffers a financial meltdown after its exit from the EU.
He posted on Twitter: “Have paid back all we borrowed from IMF.
“Ireland has no budget deficit now and we have a Rainy Day Fund.
“Happy to do same for UK and help them out financially in the future if they need it for some reason…”
Furious Twitter users quickly attacked the Irish leader for “sneering at neighbours and friends” and urged him to stay away from “keyboard battles”.
Happy to do same for UK and help them out financially in the future if they need it for some reason…
One said: “Not sure that type of back handed sneering at neighbours and friends is good for diplomacy Leo. As the elected Taoiseach of Ireland you might want to rise above keyboard battles.”
Another posted: “The Taoiseach joshing about lending the UK money while still in hock to the UK makes him look foolish, puerile and very un-statesmanlike.”
One added: “Varadkar’s comment is just not what is needed. The president of the Republic of Ireland should be showing some leadership, not trying to score petty points.”
Mr Varadkar’s dig comes after he warned last week there was a “real risk” of a return to violence in Ireland if a hard border was re-instated between Northern Ireland and Ireland after Brexit.
Speaking today, the Irish leader said the UK Government will not want to move away from its commitments to the backstop agreement.
The Taoiseach said he has “every confidence” the British Government will honour its commitment to the Irish border.
Mr Varadkar said: “From our point of view, what Ireland is looking for is what we have always been looking for from day one and what has been committed to by us and the UK Government in principle and in writing on a number of occasions now.
“That is, we have a backstop that gives us an assurance that there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland no matter what happens, that that backstop is legally operable and that applies unless and until there is a new agreement.
“That is something that the UK Government has committed to in principle, committed to in writing, and I have every confidence that the UK Government will honour that commitment.
“Britain is an important country, a serious country, a great country with great history. I don’t think they will want to be moving away from their commitment.”
It comes after Prime Minister Theresa May told MPs she could not accept the EU’s original backstop plan as it would mean imposing controls on goods traded between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, creating “a customs border down the Irish Sea.”
She is now demanding a time-limited solution to the vexed issue of the Irish border.
While she was ready to explore “every possible option” to break the impasse, she said a “critical” first step should be a legally-binding agreement on a temporary UK-EU joint customs territory to avoid the need for a Northern Ireland-only backstop.