The Tánaiste has said claims by a former senior aide to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, that the UK never intended to stick with the Brexit deal it agreed, are very alarming, and indicates it is a government and administration that operated in bad faith.

Leo Varadkar was speaking after Dominic Cummings claimed the UK government always intended to "ditch" the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mr Cummings said in a series of tweets that he had planned to get Mr Johnson to "ditch the bits we didn't like" after beating Labour in the 2019 general election.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Varadkar said: "I saw those comments. I hope Dominic Cummings is speaking for himself and not for the British government.

"But those comments are very alarming because that would indicate that this is a government, an administration, that acted in bad faith and that message needs to be heard around the world.

"If the British government doesn't honour its agreements, it doesn't adhere to treaties it signs, that must apply to everyone else too.

"At the moment they're going around the world, they're trying to negotiate new trade agreements ... Surely the message must go out to all countries around the world that this is a British government that doesn't necessarily keep its word and doesn't necessarily honour the agreements it makes.

"And you shouldn't make any agreements with them until such time as you're confident that they keep their promises, and honour things, for example, like the protocol."

It comes as the EU outlines a range of proposals aimed at resolving the political stand-off over the protocol.

European Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič has promised the measures will be "very far-reaching" and address issues over the movement of agri-food goods and medicines across the Irish Sea.

The commission said the proposals would cut checks and controls on a range of retail goods by 80%.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Foreign Affairs said the EU does have contingency plans if a deal cannot be done and the UK moves to trigger Article 16.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Simon Coveney said today is about solving problems not creating more problems.

"If the UK decides that they want to collapse the protocol, I think then heading into very a difficult space in terms of retaliatory measures," he said.

He said there is "a very genuine and serious effort" by the EU to respond to issues that have been raised on the ground by the unionist community, by business interests and by others in Northern Ireland and it should be taken in that spirit.

"There's been a lot of rancour, a been a lot of standoffs, a lot of red lines, a lot of cliff edges in relation to the negotiations around Brexit and the protocol," he said.

"We need to try to move away from that type of negotiation now towards trying to find an agreement that can work for Northern Ireland and people there," Mr Coveney added.