The DUP's opposition to the prospect of border control posts in the North could be overcome and ease the deadlock on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
That's according to MEP Barry Andrews who believes that redefining the border control posts at Northern Irish ports should be considered.
His comments come as the DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson opposes the prospect of border control posts and says that a deal on the Northern Ireland Protocol will not be reached any time soon.
The DUP has refused to nominate ministers to the Northern Ireland Executive because of their unhappiness with the Protocol and the barriers it has imposed on businesses in Great Britain who trade with the North.
Mr Andrews said the posts have to built regardless of what final agreement is reached.
"There is no border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain", he said.
"There is a political border on this island, which I don't happen to agree with, so if they could be called transit posts, it might be seen by the DUP as a success on their part, but these posts have to be built anyway no matter what type of agreement is arrived at in the weeks ahead."
Some progress has been made in the form of a data agreement, which provides real-time information on goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
Mr Andrews said that the decision to go ahead with border control posts is also positive.
"There's definitely more trust between the parties", he said.
"But we have to rememeber, we're back to a position we were in about two years ago. In other words, the UK are simply agreeing to do what they've already agreed to."
“I think we all understand what the DUP’s problem is - that is the UK internal market - and it’s a question of being able to back on into the other [EU market] without doing damage on either side,” he told The Pat Kenny Show.
“The EU will not change the rules of the single market but if they can find a credible solution, which I’ve always felt they could, [then they will].
“They did find solutions to medicines and I think they can find solutions to some of the horticultural issues and some of the other issues too.”
The DUP have issued a list of seven demands which include the abolition of checks between Britain and Northern Ireland, no new regulatory barriers within the United Kingdom and giving the people of the North “a say in laws that govern them.”
Most of these demands, Mr Ahern believes, “can be answered either comprehensively or they can be explained”.
Main image shows Stormont, home of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Picture by: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie