European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has signed off on strengthened guarantees offered to London to help pass the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

"I have spoken to the Taoiseach this evening who would be prepared to accept this solution in the interest of securing an overall deal," Mr Juncker said in a press conference this evening.

It comes as the UK has secured "legally binding" assurances on the Withdrawal Agreement this evening.

A special Government meeting on Brexit took place this evening on the situation.

The meeting had been summoned at short notice by Mr Varadkar.

The Taoiseach will make a statement on the situation tomorrow morning, according to Minister for Transport Shane Ross.

Mr Ross said the Government was hopeful that the Agreement would make it through British Parliament.

It is understood ministers were told of progress in relation to Brexit, and that there were developments in negotiations through the day.

A number of staff who were due to travel to the US with Mr Varadkar made their way back to Government Buildings for the meeting


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Earlier, the Minister for Finance said that the Government was determined to deal with and lessen the risks that Ireland faces after Brexit.

Paschal Donohoe said the departure of the UK from the European Union would be an "immense political and economic challenge".

He said: "It is clear that Brexit in any scenario will have a negative impact on the economy and the public finances.

"In particular, a departure of the UK from the EU without an agreement or transition period, would have a sudden, immediate and negative impact on our economy."

He was speaking at a news conference following a Cabinet meeting today, amid indications from both the EU and the UK that talks on revising the Withdrawal Agreement were deadlocked.

The minister said that he has held discussions with the Revenue Commissioners, National Treasury Management Agency and Central Bank on Brexit preparations.

He said that the Central Bank had told him that banks had put contingency plans in place to ensure minimum disruption for consumers.

He added that the Central Bank is also working with the European Central Bank on Brexit.

He said the Revenue Commissioners will have recruited 400 Customs Officers by the end of the month.

Minister Donohoe said that in the event of a hard Brexit there would be "some disruption" but the infrastructure would be in place to "ensure trade flow continues."

He said that the public finances would be able to absorb the shock of Brexit.

Minister Donohoe said there would be supports to help businesses in vulnerable sectors of the economy.