Latest: Brexit talks could take months, says Howlin

Update 9.46pm: The Labour Party has said that negotiations over the UK's Brexit plan proposed on Friday could drag on for months without resolution.

Party leader Brendan Howlin said that finally getting a position paper from the UK is a step forward, but it is still unclear how a hard border will be avoided.

Deputy Howlin says it is difficult to see the EU agreeing to many aspects of the UK proposals.

"They also want access to the Single Market, without contributing to the Single Market regulatory costs," he said.

"There are a number of EU agencies that monitor standards, that ensure that regulations are complied with, and they obviously have to be funded and maintained.

"I think it would be difficult for any country to enjoy the benefits of the Single Market without paying for it."

Earlier: New Brexit proposals 'a significant step forward', says Simon Coveney

Simon Coveney has today welcomed what he has called a softening of the approach to Brexit by the British government.

The Tánaiste says he has been encouraged by the UK's clarity in the plan approved last Friday.

He says the "strong language" around a backstop in the withdrawal agreement and the elimination of border checks must be welcomed - and using technology to deal with the border issue may be a moot point.

"What's encouraging is that the British Government is now saying very clearly that they want a future relationship that is so comprehensive as to not require border checks, whether that's on the island of Ireland or east-west between Ireland and Britain, from a customs point of view or from a regulatory point of view," he said.

"And I think that's a significant step forward. We're not hearing talk of using technology to deal with border problems."

- Digital desk

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