It is hoped that progress could be made next week in terms of Brexit negotiations between the European Union and the UK.

Speaking yesterday evening (Tuesday, October 9) at a press briefing following the announcement of Budget 2019, Tanaiste Simon Coveney said: “Next week is a very important week to make the necessary steps forward to try and ensure that there is a negotiated outcome that every one can live with.”

This follows comments made by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, made today (Wednesday, October 10) in Brussels.

“Negotiations with the UK continue this week intensively – day and night – in light of the goal set by the leaders of the 27 member states that the agreement is ‘at hand‘ at the time of the European Council next Wednesday, October 17,” he said.

Barnier also described Brexit as having “no added value” as well as being a “lose-lose game”.

He stated that the EU’s negotiating team is doing its best to reach a deal on the UK’s orderly withdrawal and that good progress has been made to date in the negotiations – but he did warn that the most difficult obstacles have been left until last.

Potential for a ‘no-deal’

Meanwhile, the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, is confident that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit will not occur.

But contingency plans do have to be made, just in case, he added.

In the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, if the UK crashes out of the EU without any deal on anything, you’re talking about carnage in that scenario – particularly for the UK.

“Ireland will still be a member of the EU, it will still be in the single market and the customs union. We will have huge solidarity from other member states in terms of supporting Ireland’s position, if we are exposed like that.

“I don’t believe there is a majority of people in Westminister who would support that scenario,” he said.

The Tanaiste also stressed that no contingency plans are being put in place to establish a physical border on the island of Ireland.