Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described today's meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council in Armagh as one of the best discussions on Brexit so far.

The meeting was hosted by Northern Ireland First and Deputy First ministers Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness and was also attended by Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan.

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Topics discussed during the meeting included the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, peace funds, treaties, and the free movement of people and goods across the island.

Mr Kenny also announced the establishment of a new high-level working group of officials from Northern Ireland and the Republic to co-ordinate views on Brexit and to consider what common positions existed between the Government and the Stormont Executive.

Ms Foster said she has trust in the Taoiseach and will work very closely with him and his ministers, but that Northern Ireland's Brexit negotiations will be led by the British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One, Ms Foster said: "Our negotiations will be led by our Prime Minister because we are part of the United Kingdom.

“But I think it's good to have a triangular arrangement so, from my perspective the United Kingdom will be doing our negotiations but that doesn't mean that our closest neighbour - the country whom we have a land border with - shouldn't understand and try to work together to get the best deal for those of us who live here in Northern Ireland and, indeed, in the Republic as well."

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She said any restrictions to trade post-Brexit, in particular the agri-food sector will have the most impact.

Ms  Foster said intensive discussions have been taking place between the North's Minister for Agriculture, Michelle McIlveen, and his counterpart in the Republic, Minister Michael Creed.

She said it is important that their bilateral discussions continue.

She said comments she has made in relation to Irish representatives poaching investment from Northern Ireland were an indication that, in some cases, she understands that IDA representatives have been 'talking up' the difficulties the North will have with Brexit.

"What I would say to that is, that I see there are opportunities in relation to foreign direct investment and for people who want to enter the UK market."

The next meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council is not due until next June but the Taoiseach said this plenary session may reconvene early in the New Year, possibly before the end of January and ahead of the UK triggering Brexit negotiations in March.

Discussions held about possibility of gaining special NI status within EU

Mr McGuinness said parties in the North were beginning the work of recognising "we need to be together to go forward". 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr McGuinness said any attempt to restore the border would "be totally and absolutely unacceptable".

He said both sides in Northern Ireland need to work together with the Irish Government to come together to protect the "unique situation in the North" and that discussions had been held about the possibility of gaining a special status within the EU. 

Mr McGuinness said that "even against the backdrop of different positions", he and First Minister Ms Foster had agreed to send a joint letter to the UK Prime Minister Ms May about issues of concern including the border, future of European funding and impact on agri-food business.

He said reports from London suggest there are clear divisions within the Conservative government about Brexit - and he wants to hear them state there will be not return to borders in the future.

'Pragmatic solution can be found between North and South'

The Democratic Unionist Party's Jeffrey Donaldson said the North-South Ministerial Council is the "appropriate forum" to put forward ideas about what a post-Brexit relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom would look like.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, the Lagan MP said the DUP is opposed to a hard border and that given advances in technology he did not think it would be necessary to return to checkpoints at the border.

He said he believed a "pragmatic solution" could be found between north and south bodies.

He said that there is a case to be made for a special arrangement to continue "a fruitful relationship" [with the Republic] regarding the free movement of people and goods.

He said he believed it would be Brussels, rather than London, that might ultimately decide on what a future border might look like.