British 'sweeteners' offer dismissed by Simon Coveney

Boris Johnson's government is said to be preparing to offer 'sweeteners' to its Dublin counterpart. Picture by Victoria Jones/PA Wire

SIMON Coveney has dismissed talk of 'sweeteners' from the British government to help soften Dublin's stance on a Brexit deal.

The tánaiste insisted the deadlock wasn't about money, following reports that Boris Johnson's cabinet was looking at ways of persuading the Republic's government to compromise.

The Times suggested London could help fund any infrastructure needed to enforce customs checks.

"If people still think it is, well then they're really not plugged into the Irish mindset or to the history of this island," Mr Coveney said.

"This is not about money or sweeteners or being paid off or anything like that."

The same newspaper report claimed that UK officials had compiled a list of potential issues that may negatively effect the Republic in the event of a no-deal.

It said these could be used as "leverage" in any forthcoming negotiations.

The consequences of a no-deal for the Republic were said to include disruption to medical supplies, customs delays, the loss of fishing rights off the coast of Northern Ireland, and a ban on the transport of horses to Britain.

But Mr Coveney said there was "nothing new here for us".

"We've been talking about the downside of a no-deal Brexit for many, many months," he said.

"If a no-deal Brexit were to happen, it'll be a lose, lose, lose for everybody - for the UK, for Ireland, for the EU."

Notably, in its editorial yesterday, The Times said the British government's proposal to give Stormont consent on being aligned to the single market remained "problematic" and could increase the prospect of a border poll.

It noted that support for reunification of Ireland was rising, even among unionists, citing one poll where support stood at 51 per cent in favour.

"Under the Good Friday Agreement the government must call a referendum when it appears likely that there is a majority in favour of unification," the leader column said.

"Until recently that moment seemed unlikely to arise for a generation. If Mr Johnson proceeds without broad Northern Irish consent, he might inadvertently bring that day forward."

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