The Minister of State for European Affairs has said she does not expect the EU to agree any Brexit deal that compromises Ireland red lines.
Helen McEntee spoke to On the Record with Gavan Reilly this morning as “intense” negotiations continue in Brussels.
She said we could get some idea how the talks are going as early as tonight when the EU task force briefs EU ambassadors.
She said she is not expecting any nasty surprises – noting that EU negotiators are very clear on what Ireland’s priorities are.
“I don’t think there is a possibility that we will be landed with something we don’t want,” she said.
“But at the same that doesn’t mean that we are going to have a deal by the end of this weekend.
“So I think we need to allow them the time and space and not comment too much on what may or may not be coming out of the talks.”
Yesterday, the Democratic Unionist Party voiced concerns about reports the UK had offered a compromise on the Irish border issue.
Leaked details of the proposals suggest the North will effectively remain in the EU customs union in all but name – with businesses offered a rebate on any tax differences when trading into Britain.
DUP deputy leader said that idea “cannot work’ and warned that the North must remain in a full customs union with the UK “full stop.”
Minister McEntee said negotiators are juggling a lot of different priorities and warned that there is little point in indulging in a running commentary before the details of the plans are revealed.
“I think Nigel Dodds is very much entitled to his view and his opinion – as we all are and we have very much stated them throughout these negotiations,” she said.
“But we are not the ones around the table at the moment in that we are not involved in these intensive negotiations or discussions.
“What will actually come out of them we do not know.
“So I don’t think it is for any of us to play out on the airwaves what may or may not be discussed.”
Separately the UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has warned that he is unlikely to support the plan being trashed out this weekend – even if it is put to a referendum in the UK.
"I think the problem areas are of regulation and deregulation which come from whatever trade arrangement there is with Europe and the wider world – but also perhaps the Irish border issue,” he said.
"If it creates a border down the Irish Sea rather than on the Irish border itself, I can see that bringing problems."
Mr Johnson is reportedly due to speak to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emanuel Macron and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday.
It is believed he will ask them to help him deliver the new proposals or agree to a “friendly” no-deal Brexit on October 31st.