Prospects of Brexit deal played down by Tánaiste
Tánaiste Simon Coveney has played down the prospects of a Brexit deal based on DUP leader Arlene Foster's suggestion that she's open to Northern Ireland-specific solutions to the impasse.
He said there is as yet no credible alternative to the backstop to avoid a hard Border in Ireland, and while Ms Foster's visit to Dublin and meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was positive, it should not be seen as a breakthrough.
In remarks on Wednesday night Ms Foster said while she still opposes the backstop, her party was prepared to look at "Northern Ireland-specific solutions achieved with the support and consent of the representatives of the people of Northern Ireland".
Mr Coveney said: "I think we need to be careful that this doesn't get interpreted as some kind of breakthrough because I don't think it is." He said there's "still a big gap" between the British government and the EU.
Separately, British Chancellor Sajid Javid told Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's energy is still focused on getting a deal. Mr Donohoe said ahead of the meeting in Dublin that it was an "opportunity to exchange perspectives on Brexit... while recognising that any negotiations are between the United Kingdom and the [EU]".