A deal to move Brexit negotiations onto the next stage is unlikely to be reached today. Progress has been made by officials from Dublin, London and Brussels – but not enough to see a deal through.
The border with Northern Ireland is the sticking point in talks, with the Tánaiste demanding guarantees that there will be no return to checkpoints and a hard border.
Speaking on his way into a special cabinet meeting Health Minister Simon Harris said he hopes a deal can be reached:
“We want to make sure the Good Friday Agreement is protected; we want to make sure that there is no regulatory divergence, in terms of trade, and we want to make sure we can keep as close as possible a relationship in both in trading and in other way with Britain and with Northern Ireland.”
The Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney wants the British government to make it clear that a hard border will not appear on the island of Ireland in any circumstance.
An agreement on that is unlikely to come today when British Prime Minister Theresa May meets Jean Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk later.
Sources say there is still some wiggle room to reach a deal, with European Commissioners not due to make a recommendation on moving the talks on until Wednesday.
Whether that’s enough time for Theresa May to hash out a deal and give the Irish government enough guarantees, remains to be seen.