Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hailed a “positive” private meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday, saying a deal is “possible” by October 31.
In a joint statement, Varadkar and Johnson agreed there was a “pathway” to getting a deal done – surprising many who believed the meeting would fail to bear fruit.
The British and Irish governments stated that “both continue to believe that a deal is in everybody’s interest. They agreed that they could see a pathway to a possible deal.
“Their discussion concentrated on the challenges of customs and consent. They also discussed the potential to strengthen bilateral relations, including on Northern Ireland.”
The British PM hosted Varadkar privately at Thornton Manor Estate in Wirral – a venue popular for weddings.
Varadkar said afterwards to press gathered at John Lennon Airport in Liverpool that while he believed the outline of a deal would be possible in time for the crucial summit of EU leaders next week, serious challenges remained and there was “many a slip between cup and lip”.
The first of those challenges will be met when the UK Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay meets with EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels today.