The Government has said there has been very strong solidarity from European colleagues on the need for the backstop, designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.

A Government spokesperson said it has been welcome to see British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson reaffirm his desire to leave the European Union with a deal, while also acknowledging that the onus was on the UK to come up with viable alternatives to the backstop.

Earlier, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the Government will listen to Britain's suggestions regarding alternatives to the backstop, but the Withdrawal Agreement was not up for renegotiation.

Mr Coveney said: "The British government has said it wants to look at alternative arrangements that can do the same job as the backstop and of course we will listen to that and I think other European countries will do so too."

But he said the message from the EU was that the Withdrawal Agreement was put together through many months of negotiation and was not going to be "pushed aside now in an effort to get a deal". 

Mr Coveney was speaking after a meeting with the Danish government as part of a series of visits to European capitals.

Meanwhile, Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee also said that Ireland is "willing and ready to listen" to any proposals to the backstop impasse, but has yet to hear anything credible from the UK.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, she said the only alternative suggestions from the UK in a letter to Donald Tusk were not credible and included previously-mooted trusted trader schemes, technological solutions or a proposal that Ireland align itself with the UK instead of the single market.

Ms McEntee said it was no secret that Ireland has been talking to the European Commission about a no-deal Brexit scenario.

She said these talks are not about the backstop or alternative arrangements, but are about damage limitation on this island of Ireland.

She said the twin goal and objective of the talks with the European Commission are about how to protect the invisible border and ensure no infrastructure is reintroduced or any threat returns along the border, while also seeing that Ireland keeps its place in the single market.

Ms McEntee said that Ireland's focus remains on securing a deal.