Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said Brexit will dominate Irish politics for the rest of the year regardless of what happens in the General Election. 

He was due to brief the Cabinet this morning about Brexit, as the UK prepares to leave the EU at 11pm on Friday.

Mr Coveney said if there is no free trade agreement in place by the end of year, Ireland will be trading with the UK under WTO rules, which will mean significant tariffs for Ireland.

He said there will be an intense and difficult debate when it comes to fishing in particular.

Mr Coveney also said there was still the possibility of a no deal on trade, which would impact a number of vulnerable sectors. 

He said many people might be "bored" of hearing him talking about Brexit, but, he said it is far from over and there are still real risks.

The Tánaiste said the right trade deal must be reached with the UK to protect jobs and income.

He said there has been a competition between parties in the General Election campaign about how much they want to spend, but without a strong economy and the right trade deal this will not happen.

The European Commission is likely to soon start negotiations for the EU's Free Trade Agreement with the UK.

Ireland will prioritise the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, which prevents a hard border, secures the country's place in the single market, and guarantees citizens' rights.

Additional Reporting Aisling Kenny