The Taoiseach has said he has yet to see anything that would provide justification to reopen negotiations on the UK withdrawal from the EU.

Speaking at Ireland West Airport in Co Mayo this afternoon, Leo Varadkar said the Government was "absolutely open" to any proposals from the British Government that would achieve everything the backstop achieved.

He said the backstop was only a means to an end, to ensure there was continued free movement of goods and people across the border.

Mr Varadkar said suggestions that there could be a role for institutions set up under the Good Friday Agreement in any deal was "actually a very good one".

He said this would ensure the voices from all communities in Northern Ireland were heard.

However, he said any such measure would have to have a back-up mechanism in place, to cater for the possibility that those institutions were not operating in the future.

Earlier, while he was performing the ribbon-cutting ceremony on a refurbished runway at the facility, Mr Varadkar was given a bottle of holy water from the Parish Priest of Knock, Fr Richard Gibbons.

Fr Gibbons told the Taoiseach that it might provide some assistance during talks with the British Prime Minister in New York next week.

Later, the Taoiseach said he did believe in miracles but was unsure if there would be one with Brexit.

However, he said he knew both he and Boris Johnson were committed to coming to an agreement if they could.

Meanwhile, EU Council President Donald Tusk and Mr Johnson will hold Brexit talks on Monday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

A European official said that the talks are set for Monday afternoon, with Mr Tusk also meeting Angela Merkel  and Mr Varadkar.

Earlier today, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said Ireland was very aware of the consequences of a no-deal Brexit. 

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, he said there was "no uncertainty here" and that a no deal is "a loss for everyone, particularly Ireland and Britain".

"Ireland is in no doubt as to what a no deal means for us. It is very damaging and very difficult and poses huge questions for politics and potentially for the management of civic unrest in the context of Northern Ireland and the border question."

Mr Coveney said there were serious problems with the approach being taken by Mr Johnson.

He said Ireland and the EU really want to get a deal that the UK can support and they are still waiting for serious proposals from the British government to allow that to happen. 

"That is why I said yesterday we need a dose of reality ... and there is still a wide gap," said Mr Coveney.

He said there is an onus on the British government to come forward if they have alternative proposals to the backstop.

"It is not a question of just giving the British government time to do this. It is a question of agreement between the EU and the UK that addresses the significant issues that arise out of the UK deciding to leave the EU.

"We have an agreed approach that would solve the most difficult of those questions, which is how we would keep an Irish border open to allow trade to continue."

Mr Coveney said it was important that people across the UK were aware of what was being asked of Ireland.


Read more:


He said: "It is really important that people across the UK hear this. What we are being asked to do by Steve Barclay and others is to replace a guarantee around that border question, which solves it and we know that, with a promise that somehow we will do our best to try to solve this issue in the future but we don't know how just yet. 

"That doesn't sound like a fair deal to me." 

Mr Coveney said while Ireland wanted to get a deal, it could not be the collateral damage of that. 

He addd: "The Irish position is that we want to find a solution, we want to get a deal, and let the UK leave the deal in an orderly manner.

"But we cannot allow Ireland be the collateral damage of that. And I think for Britain to ask us to do that is a very unreasonable request and it won't be the basis of a deal."

Additional reporting: PA