Ireland 'disappointed' by British U-turn on Brexit deal: PM

No agreement has yet been reached between Britain and Ireland on the future of the Northern Irish border after Brexit, but a breakthrough could come later today, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.

This week began with the DUP leader, Arlene Foster, reminding the EU, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Theresa May that, whether they like it or not, her party holds some cards in the Brexit game.

The U.K. has reportedly accepted there will be "no regulatory divergence" of EU customs union and single market rules for Ireland after Brexit, according to RTE.

But critics say that it would effectively move the customs border between the United Kingdom and the Republic into the Irish Sea, if the rest of the United Kingdom was not in the single market.

After a day that see-sawed between hope and disappointment, the leaders failed to make what the European Union considers "sufficient progress" on three issues: Britain's exit bill, the rights of citizens affected by Brexit and the status of the now invisible Irish border. This is possible because both the United Kingdom and Ireland are part of the EU's borderless single market for goods and services as well as the tariff-less customs union.

The issue of citizens' rights has also remained a hurdle.

Mr Rees-Mogg, a prominent Brexiteer who has been talked about as a future Conservative leader, said the prime minister could not agree to different regulatory systems in Northern Ireland and the rest of the EU.

"It was not possible to reach complete agreement today", he said.

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She said: "There are a couple of issues, some differences do remain which require further negotiation and consultation".

"This is not a failure", Juncker added after a long negotiating lunch with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

"Not every single question has to be answered but we need sufficient progress on these very sensitive issues".

The EU and the United Kingdom are nearing agreement on some divorce terms, including the size of the bill that Britain must pay as it leaves and the rights of citizens affected by Brexit.

However, unionists tend to view with scepticism any proposal for harmonisation of rules on either side of the border.

The Prime Minister is reliant on any support from the party as the DUP is propping up her government with its 10 MPs.

The EU has demanded "sufficient progress" on key withdrawal issues - the UK's exit payment, citizens' rights and Irish border - before the second phase can start.

  • Megan Austin