Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he may meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson next week and says he will listen to alternatives to the backstop.

He said officials are working on two possible dates.

Mr Varadkar said that so far the suggestions [on the backstop] have been on just managing the border, which is not the outcome we want.

Mr Varadkar said he is patient and would look at any proposals the British government puts forward and there is time between now and the 31 October deadline.

"This is a very volatile and dynamic situation. Events are happening in the House of Commons this week and we're going to have to see how they pan out.

"I could very easily make an initiative today and find out in 48 hours that it is totally out of date, so I think we have to allow things develop in Westminster."

Mr Varadkar said a significant financial package will be needed for companies int the event of a no-deal, with the majority coming from the exchequer.

He said Cabinet will meet tomorrow and discuss a new memo on how a no-deal Brexit will affect the country.

He added that he will use his meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence to highlight the Brexit risks to Ireland.

His comments come as a senior British government official said that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will call for a general election to be held on 14 October if he is defeated in a parliamentary vote on his Brexit strategy to be held tomorrow.

The Taoiseach said: "I am always willing to listen to any proposal that a British Prime Minister has.

"The backstop is a means to an end.

"It is there to ensure that we continue to have frictionless trade north and south, that there is no physical infrastructure, no checks, no controls, no tariffs.

"We want that to continue to be the case. It has been the case since 1992, we want that to continue.

"Of course, I would listen to any proposals that the British Prime Minister may have to achieve that by an alternative means and we provide for alternative arrangements in the joint political declaration.

"The difficulty is that anything we have seen so far when it comes to alternative arrangements do something very different.

"They just manage a border, they facilitate tariffs, they facilitate checks, they facilitate controls but try to do it in a way that is invisible and unobtrusive, and that is better than nothing but it is not the outcome that we want to achieve," added Mr Varadkar. 


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Earlier, the European Commission signalled that there have been no new "concrete" proposals put forward by the UK on replacing the backstop.

Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said: "We are willing to work constructively with Prime Minister [Boris] Johnson to look at any proposals, any concrete proposals that he may have as long as they are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement.  

"Discussion at technical level will continue with the UK [chief negotiator] sherpa David Frost in Brussels in the commission this week.

"There were no meetings since last week. The meetings are resuming this week. During the weekend there have been no new developments on our side," she said.

Ms Andreeva told reporters in Brussels that any talks between the UK and the EU "will depend on when we receive concrete proposals that are in line with the Withdrawal Agreement."

She added: "On that basis we are then happy to engage. 

"It is of course proposals that emerge as a result of talks, because precisely the idea is that they are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement and for that you need two sides to agree. So it is a dynamic process."

Ms Andreeva said that following a phone call between Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Mr Johnson, and further meetings between Mr Johnson and other EU leaders, it was agreed that discussions would continue.

These would now take place twice a week.

"It's in the European Union's interest and [is] our well stated position that the UK leaves on 31 October with a Withdrawal Agreement," she added.

Reporting: Tony Connelly, Fergal Bowers, PA