The Taoiseach has said discussions are continuing with the European Commission on preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

However, speaking after a cabinet meeting in Co Donegal, Leo Varadkar said he was confident that such a scenario could be avoided.

He also said that if there is a no-deal Brexit, it would be a British choice and not the fault of Ireland or the European Union as "nobody can possibly rationally trying to blame Ireland or the EU for that".

Mr Varadkar also said that a Northern Ireland only backstop remains an option.

"I know there are some people in Britain who feel that the backstop was some sort of mechanism to tie Great Britain into the Customs Union and Single Market. That was never the case. And if that is the concern, that can be provided for within the (Withdrawal) Agreement".

Mr Varadkar said there have been no discussions with the UK around a no-deal Brexit, but talks are continuing with the Commission around protecting the Customs Union and the Single Market in the event of no-deal.

"That does mean imposing tariffs on imports from Northern Ireland and from Britain and it will mean checks. But we are going to try and have those checks at ports of entry and at business level and random checks as well rather than physical infrastructure at the border".

Mr Varadkar also said that Commission President Jean Claude Junker has reiterated the position of the EU remains the same - the Withdrawal Agreement or backstop are not open for renegotiation.

Asked if he trusted new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Taoiseach said he was not going to pass judgment on him as he had only met him once at a St Patrick's Day event in London and they had not had a proper engagement yet.

He said he found former British prime minister Theresa May to be an "honourable person" and he hoped Mr Johnson would be "as true to his word as much as she was".

He said he did not have a date yet to meet Mr Johnson.

Mr Varadkar also said he hoped new British Home Secretary Priti Patel would reflect on her previous comments that the threat of food shortages could be used to force Ireland and the EU to drop the backstop.

The Taoiseach said the population in places like Donegal still had not recovered from the Great Famine which he said had been imposed on Ireland.

Additional reporting Mícheál Lehane