Latest: Simon Coveney says there is a lack of clarity surrounding Brexit negotiations

Update 10.37am: Minister Simon Coveney has said that there is a sense of 'jumping into the dark' when it comes to Brexit.

Simon Coveney questioned the British government's clarity and credibility when it comes to avoiding a hard border with Northern Ireland.

"From an Irish perspective there is a sense of jumping into the dark here," Minister Coveney said this morning.

"We understand the aspirations for where everybody wants to go but we don't have the clarity, or the certainty, or the credibility that helps us to believe that we can get that done."

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and British Foreign Secetary Boris Johnson at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Iveagh House. Pic Julien Behal Photography

Update 9.25am: British foreign secretary Boris Johnson has refused to guarantee there will be no border along the North with Brexit and says the issue will instead be negotiated in phase two of the talks, writes Juno McEnroe.

Speaking in Dublin this morning at Iveagh House, he said that nobody wanted to see fresh borders along the North with Brexit-but was unable to explain how it would work once Brexit is triggered.

But Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said Ireland needed stronger commitments before agreeing with other EU members to allow Britain move to phase two of the Brexit talks on trade.

Mr Johnson though, when asked, could not guarantee there would be no return to the border:

“Nobody wants to see a return to a hard border. We have got to work together, In order to resolve those issues and get it right for our people, it is necessary now to move on to the second stage of the negotiations which really entail so many of the questions that are bound up with the border issue,” he said at a press conference in Iveagh House.

But Mr Coveney was emphatic when he said that, while Ireland also wanted to move onto the next phase of Brexit talks with London, we are “not now in a place that allows us to do that”.

The comments by both foreign affairs ministers reveals the widening gulf between Britain and Ireland on Brexit. It also suggests any deal or progress on Brexit at an EU leaders summit next month now looks increasingly unlikely-unless a last minute pledge or guarantee on the North can be made by Britain.

Mr Johnson will this morning, after his meeting with Mr Coveney on foreign affairs matters as well as Brexit, also meet the Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and TDs and he will also make a private visit to Trinity College Dublin.


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