Ireland is making contingency plans for any unwanted outcomes from Brexit negotiations, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has said.
"As a State, we need to plan for all eventualities," Simon Coveney told a conference in Dublin this morning.
"We need to continue to negotiate for the best possible outcome, but we are preparing in the background for outcomes that we don't want."
Mr Coveney went on to say that the UK’s talks on leaving the EU cannot progress, as London wishes, to cover trade relations until it gives more clarity on what will happen at the border.
He said: "On the border issue, I'm sorry but we need more clarity than we have right now.
"We cannot move ahead to phase two on the back of a promise that we don't see any delivery mechanism to make a reality.
"We don't need all the answers but we certainly need to have more assurance than we have today.
"We need some understanding that if the trade negotiations collapse, which could happen, that the Irish issues will still be resolved and prioritised."
Speaking at the same conference, AIB chairman Richard Pym said Ireland must be ready for a "car crash Brexit".
"We must plan for the worst possible car-crash Brexit if the ultra-Brexiteers, the head-bangers, are prepared to blow up the British economy in the name of taking back control."
Meanwhile, the head of International Financial Services at IDA Ireland has London-based law firms are examining moves to Ireland following Brexit.
"Other sectors ... that initially adopted a 'wait and see approach' have now awoken to Brexit and legal firms in the UK are now looking at Ireland," Kieran O'Donoghue said.
Stuart Gilhooly, president of the Law Society of Ireland, said roughly 1,200 lawyers in the UK had registered in Ireland since the Brexit vote and 230 had taken the further step of getting a certificate to practice.
Although Mr Gilhooly believes most do not intend to move, some firms have announced their interest.
Simmons & Simmons, a law firm set up in the City of London financial district more than a century ago, said it intended to open an office in Dublin to deal with customers including investment managers and hedge funds.
"There are other opportunities in Ireland in financial institutions," said Jeremy Hoyland, managing partner at the firm.
"That is obviously an area where Ireland has not been a focus for us but post-Brexit, there is clearly going to be more activity in Ireland."
DLA Piper, an international law firm, said it was examining its options, referring to the prospect of setting up an office in Ireland.
Ireland's appeal is based chiefly on its use of a common law legal system, the same as that used in Britain, which lawyers said would be easier to switch to for international groups that now use London courts and lawyers.
The decision of an industry group, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), to examine writing contracts for the multi-trillion dollar derivatives sector in Irish and French law due to Brexit has also boosted Irish prospects.
"The ISDA thing is massive when you think of the sheer value of transactions," said Paul McGarry of the Bar Council.
He added that the Commercial Court could grow rapidly to cope with new demand. "We have a very efficient commercial court. It has plenty of capacity to increase."
Scotland's Sturgeon seeks assurance of Brexit transition
Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon has sought confirmation that Britain is urgently seeking a transition agreement with the European Union before the end of the year, according to a letter sent to British Prime Minister Theresa May and released by the Scottish government today.
Ms Sturgeon said she was increasingly concerned that Brexit talks would end in no deal and see Britain crash out.
"The clarity of your intentions, and thus the confidence of business that there will be a sensible transition period agreed quickly, has been seriously undermined," she wrote.
"This relates in particular to your comments suggesting no transition can be agreed, or formalised, until there is agreement on the future relationship," she added.