A temporary safeguard to avoid constructing a physical border between the North and the Republic after Brexit would be pointless, the EU’s chief negotiator has said.

While speaking to newspapers Le Monde, Rzeczpospolita and Luxemburger Wort, Mr Barnier said the current backstop proposal over the border was the only option on the table.

“The question of limiting the backstop in time has already been discussed twice by European leaders. This is the only possible option because an insurance is of no use if it is time limited,” Mr Barnier said.

The Taoiseach met with party leaders last night to discuss the Government’s plans to deal with the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

The meeting followed comments yesterday by spokeswoman for the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, who said that the UK leaving the EU without a deal would result in a hard border in Ireland.

-Daniel Potter