Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee has said it is "disappointing" to see that the UK distanced itself from the political declaration agreed by the EU and the UK last October. 

The political declaration sets out the shared ambitions of the UK and the EU for comprehensive future partnership agreement across a range of issues. 

She said it was disappointing to see that the UK distanced themselves from the declaration in areas such as fisheries and on level playing field commitments, climate change and relevant tax matters. 

Minister McEntee said the political declaration is not an EU wish list, it was a document that the British Government negotiated with the EU and signed up to.

She said the UK's asks go considerably beyond precedent and amount to maintaining some of the rights of the single market without the obligations membership brings. 

Minister McEntee said Ireland was not afraid of robust competition but that trade should be open and fair. 

She said it was unlikely that a fisheries agreement would concluded by 1 July but the EU will continue to seek a sustainable and balanced agreement. 

The Minister said many would wish to see the Brexit transition period extended but she said that was unlikely.

She said she was confident that both sides could reach an agreement but that getting there will require follow-through on the commitments made under the political declaration and the implementation of the withdrawal agreement. 

Earlier, speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Minister McEntee had said that even with the closest possible future relationship with the UK there will be changes to trade and it is best to be prepared.

She said a lot of supports that were earmarked for Brexit infrastructure and additional personnel were re-purposed to deal with the payments needed for Covid-19.

Much of the infrastructure and people needed are in place at airports and ports to ensure that people have the right information to continue to trade with the UK if the transition period is not extended and the UK quits at the end of the year, Ms McEntee added.

Minister McEntee said that Government departments are now re-engaging with industries and businesses and looking to ensure there are people allocated to focus on Brexit preparations.

She said targeted outreach and communications will get under way in the next two months.

As discussions continue on the Withdrawal Agreement and political declaration, Ms McEntee said there is a level of frustration in the EU about the position being taken by the UK.

She said the UK "don't seem to want to agree or fulfil what they have committed to and there is a level of frustration that is clearly seen in commentary from" lead EU negotiator Michel Barnier.

The UK is looking for unfettered access to the single market, is asking for "unprecedented relationships" and does not want to commit to the rules and obligations in many areas, the minister added.

Ms McEntee said the facts are that the UK has decided to leave and at the same time it wants continued access to the single market, recognition of its professional qualifications, the UK's own customs and procedures recognised as equivalent to the EU's, non-compliance with checks and procedures and co-decisions on financial services.

She asked: "Why would 27 other member states who are compliant and adhering to these very beneficial rules, regulations and standards allow one to leave and enjoy all the member benefits and not uphold all these kind of  things?"

She said the EU needs the UK "to come to the table" and commit to what has been agreed as she does not see the 27 member states backing down.

Ms McEntee explained that the areas under discussion at present are: fisheries; the level playing field; the governance structure of a future relationship and security and policing matters.