Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has urged anyone affected by Brexit - including "most businesses in the country" - to prepare for a no-deal withdrawal by the UK.

Mr Coveney was speaking after a weekend in which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met privately with European Council President Donald Tusk at the G7 summit but no progress was reported on preventing a no-deal by 31 October.

This afternoon, Mr Johnson said he was prepared to take Brexit talks with the European Union down to the very last minute before the 31 October exit. 

Mr Coveney said that in the last few weeks the British government has outlined a very firm position and "we've seen the EU responding, I think equally firmly, if respectfully, that this deal needs to be done on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement that took two-and-a-half years to negotiate".

He added that "we still don't have the outcome that we're looking for, which is a deal to prevent a no-deal Brexit".

Mr Coveney said the message from the Government to everyone who is linked to Brexit to prepare for a no-deal.

He urged businesses to "to look at your supply chains, to look at your customer base, to make sure that you're registered with Revenue so that you can understand how customs works, the paperwork that's required for that, and if necessary to use the supports that are there, to take on the advice that's needed to help to restructure your business if that's what's necessary and to respond to the challenges of Brexit."

He added that the Government will "work night and day to prevent a no-deal" but the parameters are set by the Withdrawal Agreement which was negotiated by all 28 EU governments.

Speaking in Clonmel, Mr Coveney reiterated that the island of Ireland and the peace process must be protected and an all Ireland economy maintained, which he said that was the whole point of the backstop. 

Asked if it is time for the EU to "compromise" to secure a deal with the UK, Mr Coveney said the negotiations since 2016 have already been about and included compromise.

"This was a British choice, to leave the EU. There is a responsibility on the British government to ensure that the deal that is done, yes is good for the UK, but is also acceptable to the EU and Britain's closest neighbours and that is what the negotiation was all about when we put in place the Withdrawal Agreement".

He said any talk of more PSNI officers to deal with tensions and frictions that may come with a border is the last thing we want to be talking about when there is a deal on the table that solves this problem. 

Mr Coveney acknowledged that US President Donald Trump wants to strike a trade deal with the UK, post-Brexit, but added: "The British Prime Minister has made it very clear: the first trade deal he wants to do is with the EU, that is the UK's biggest market by far, it's the most important market for the British economy by far and I think that is where the focus should be."

Most cross-border traders not ready for impact of no-deal Brexit

Just 6% of an estimated 20,000 cross-border traders are prepared for cash flow and liquidity issues in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to new research carried out by InterTradeIreland.

It also found a similarly small amount have examined the possible legal implications for business contracts if the UK leaves the EU.

The research is based on the views of more than 750 business managers across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

It also discovered that less than one in ten businesses operating across the border have taken steps to examine what effect a hard Brexit might have on their supply chain.

Only 12% of SMEs involved in cross-border selling have examined the impact of extra taxes in the form of tariffs could have on their companies.

The worrying findings come just days after the Government warned that preparation for a no-deal Brexit was inadequate in a number of sectors of the economy.

The findings were published as InterTradeIreland launches a new campaign aimed at encouraging cross-border traders to plan for the UK's exit from the EU.

The organisation says the findings show companies need to take urgent action now, ahead of a possible UK crash out from the EU on 31 October.

"Ignoring Brexit is a bigger issue than not preparing for it," said Aidan Gough, InterTradeIreland's Designated Officer and Director of Strategy and Policy.

"Failing to take into account how it may impact your business could be very detrimental down the line.

"We want to reach as many SMEs as possible to help them prepare, that's why InterTradeIreland is launching our new campaign."

Mr Gough said the campaign will be a recognition of the fact that Brexit is now just too big to brush under the carpet.

Additional Reporting Will Goodbody