Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has called for the UK's Brexit transition period to extend up to five years after it leaves the European Union in March 2019.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Coveney said a good outcome for the Irish and British economies required "a sensible and pragmatic approach towards a transition arrangement. For me, that's closer to four or five years rather than two".

At a speech in Florence in September, British Prime Minister Theresa May proposed a two-year transition period.

While the EU has made clear that any transition should be time-limited, the pro-Brexit members of Mrs May's government are reluctant to accept even a two-year bridging deal.

In the interview, Mr Coveney also cautioned against setting a timeline designed to correspond with any elections.

"We should not be setting transition periods to meet some kind of political electoral cycle. The businesses that are going to have to survive through that transition will also need time," he said.

"Brexit is not something we should be playing a game of chicken on in terms of making unrealistic demands. It's a much worse outcome for Britain and Ireland than for everybody else if there's no deal."