European Parliament Brexit co-ordinater Guy Verhofstadt has said he does not favour a long extension to the Brexit process, as having negotiations going on for years would mean ongoing uncertainty.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live, Mr Verhofstadt said that his fear was not of a no-deal Brexit, but rather that negotiations would continue for years and years.

"I’m not in favour of a long long extension for years, as that means that we will continue to talk about Brexit instead of talking about the renewal of the European Union," he said.

He added: "My fear is not a no-deal, my fear is that this uncertainty of Brexit will continue and these negotiations and discussions will continue for two or three years.

"That is bad for everybody, that is bad for every country, including Ireland".

He said he opposed the idea of a hard border, saying nobody involved in any Brexit discussion was in favour of a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Mr Verhofstadt said he wanted to conclude Brexit negotiations before European elections.

"We want to conclude discussions as fast as possible, if possible before European elections, otherwise Britain will remain in the European Union, will remain in the European Council, the European Commission and the parliament and we will continue to talk about Brexit for the coming years".

He added he did not want to talk about Brexit for years to come, but rather the reform and renewal of the EU.

On the border issue, he said that even one sensor on the border could mean a return to violence, and that was why the EU was in favour of the backstop.

He said he visited the border region 18 months ago and was very much aware of the "disaster" that would happen by establishing a border in whatever form.

He added that the backstop was a key part of the Withdrawal Agreement, and that a time-limited backstop would not make any sense.

The backstop was an essential safeguard and insurance mechanism, he said.

He said that there was no other way EU officials could have approached Brexit negotiations than the UK than the way they did.

"I think from the side of the EU, everything that needed to be done was done ... with the interests of Ireland at the top of the list," he said.

Asked about negotiations in London to reach a compromise deal that would pass through the House of Commons, he asked whether any talks were really going on, adding: "We need more Irish common sense in British politics".