Tánaiste Simon Coveney was due to bring a memo to Cabinet on Brexit which maps out how the Government should deal with the continuing uncertainty surrounding the UK's future trading relationship with the European Union. 

It is understood the memo states the Government does not believe British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will seek to extend the Brexit transition period, and therefore Ireland should prepare for either a limited trade deal, or a no-deal scenario, by the end of the year.  

Mr Coveney will seek approval to draft a new omnibus bill which will cover the needs of eight government departments, as the clock counts down to 31 December, when the UK exits the so-called transition period.

During the transition, the UK has remained a member of the EU's customs union and single market - though it has left the union itself. 

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier has held three rounds of talks with the UK on a trade deal. A fourth round is due next week.  

However, Mr Coveney believes Mr Johnson wants to exit transition period at the end of this year, and so the EU will secure either a limited trade deal with the UK, or the talks will collapse and trade will be conducted on World Trade Organisation rules. 

While that would be a bad outcome for Ireland, the UK has already given firm commitments that there can be no return to a hard border - irrespective of what happens in the trade talks.