Progress on the remaining issues hindering an agreement on Brexit between the EU and the UK could be made as soon as today, according to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Should progress be made today, this would allow the European Council to ratify an agreement tomorrow – and the House of Commons could give its views on it as soon as Saturday, the Taoiseach said.

Addressing attendees at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine’s Open Policy Debate on Ireland’s Agri-Food Strategy to 2030, the Taoiseach said:

Following the meeting I had with the prime minister, Prime Minister Johnson, last week, I am convinced that all parties are serious about getting an agreement this week – or at least, if not this week, by the end of the month.

“An agreement, an orderly Brexit, a deal – whatever way you want to describe it, is very much in the interests of Ireland, the UK and the EU as a whole.

“There is a pathway to a possible deal; but there are many issues that still need to be fully resolved, particularly around the consent mechanism and also some issues around customs and VAT,” Varadkar said.

“I spoke to the prime minister by phone this morning and I’ve been in contact as well with the European Commission.

And I do think we are making progress – but there are issues yet to be resolved – and hopefully that can be done today, allowing us to ratify the agreement at European Council tomorrow, allowing the House of Commons to give its view on it on Saturday.

“But if it’s not, there is still more time; October 31 is still a few weeks away and there is the possibility of an additional summit before that if we need one,” the Taoiseach said.