British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit team has been ordered to come up with plans to "get around" the Northern Ireland protocol in the Brexit withdrawal agreement, the Sunday Times newspaper has reported.
Officials in Taskforce Europe, which is run by David Frost, Mr Johnson's European Union negotiator, are seeking to evade Irish Sea checks on goods passing from Britain to Northern Ireland, according to the newspaper.
The officials believe that Suella Braverman, the new UK attorney-general, may need to give fresh legal advice to justify the move, the newspaper said.
Sources told the Sunday Times that Ms Braverman was appointed because her predecessor Geoffrey Cox was not willing to take such action.
Asked by RTÉ News if the UK's Taskforce Europe team had been ordered to look for ways to "get around" the Northern Ireland protocol - and if Ms Braverman has been asked to advise on it, a UK Government spokesperson said: "The UK signed the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol, last month. The UK will comply with its obligations.".
Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard said the UK government "must not be allowed to sidestep their responsibilities".
"While there is no such thing as a good Brexit, the protections secured in the Irish Protocol and Withdrawal Agreement offer some protections to local communities and businesses in the north," he said.
"It now appears the British government is planning to ride roughshod over what has already been agreed; this would be completely unacceptable.
"We need to see the EU27 and the Irish government protecting what has already been agreed on the north and working to prevent the Tories from adopting an a la carte approach to their international obligations and responsibilities."
Mr Johnson's cabinet will meet on Tuesday to sign off on the proposals, which will then be presented in parliament and published online on Thursday, the report added.
France on Wednesday said it was imperative that negotiations over a future trade relationship between Britain and the EU included customs checks in the Irish Sea.
Mr Johnson struck a divorce deal with the EU last October that leaves Northern Ireland inside the UK customs area but all EU procedures will apply to goods arriving there.