The Minister of State for European Affairs has said the UK's proposals for dealing with the Irish backstop do not go far enough.

Minister Helen McEntee told RTÉ’S This Week programme that while she has not seen the UK’s "working documents" there appears to be a discussion around all-island checks particularly for animal health and welfare.

"We know in order to prevent checks and to protect the flow of the economy, we need to go further than that.

"This is a start and hopefully we can work from it," she said.

Minister McEntee said "we are starting to make some form of progress" but added that there is still a significant way to go.

Time to achieve Brexit deal "shrinking rapidly"

Meanwhile, the Government believes that the time available to strike a Brexit deal is "shrinking rapidly" and the UK needs to "step up a gear" in its negotiations with the EU.

The warning from a Government spokesman comes as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar travels to New York today, where he will hold Brexit talks with the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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The main purpose of the Taoiseach's visit to New York  is to attend the UN General Assembly, and other meetings, on the topics of climate change, sustainable development and combating online terrorism.

Mr Varadkar will also promote Ireland's campaign for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2021.

However, Brexit looms large and the Taoiseach is due to meet Mr Johnson - although the timing has yet to be finalised. 

In what will be their second bilateral, it is said the two leaders will "take stock" of the negotiations between the UK and the EU.

A Government spokesman said the Taoiseach will emphasise his openness to considering any British proposals for detailed, legally operable and realistic arrangements which achieve the objectives of the Irish backstop.

While in New York, the Taoiseach will also hold Brexit talks with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, as well as engaging directly with other EU heads of state.

Read more:
Juncker: No-deal Brexit would mean Irish border checks
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