Simon Coveney: North 'may be most vulnerable to bad Brexit deal'

Perhaps it is. But I'm going to ask a few questions first. It consists of the first minister and deputy first minister and various ministers with individual portfolios and remits.

"These talks will be hard at points, but we will be approaching them in a constructive way".

Mr Coveney met all five main political parties and Secretary of State James Brokenshire in what was his first involvement in the process since replacing Charlie Flanagan at the head of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin last week.

The UK Government has warned that direct rule from London could be reimposed if the local parties fail to reach an agreement before the June 29 deadline.

Mr Coveney said a number of "core issues" still stand in the way of an agreement but he said he did not consider them "insurmountable".

Sir Keir said he was in favour of allowing free movement of labour from the European Union if migrants had a job offer, saying: "I am attracted to that".

The party has been locked in negotiations with the Tories for more than week but it is still not clear when they might sign off on a deal.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will face an immediate leadership challenge from eurosceptic lawmakers in her party if she seeks to water down her plans for Brexit, the Sunday Telegraph reported, citing senior Conservative sources.

Recent political agreements in Northern Ireland have essentially been negotiated between the DUP and Sinn Féin.

Under Northern Ireland's power-sharing agreement, the government there must be run by Irish nationalists and unionists together.

But May's failure to win a majority in last week's election has weakened her position badly and reopened the debate around the Brexit strategy just days before the country opens its divorce talks with Brussels on Monday.

"There have been positive engagements today between ourselves and Sinn Féin", he said. I think we could strike a model that deals with people who want to come to work.

He added: "We see no reason why devolution and the executive can't be up and running now".

Declan Kearney, the party's chairman, said a DUP focus on Ms Foster's future role at Stormont "is completely misdirected and premature".

On Monday, Mr Coveney said: "As the representative of the Irish Government at the talks, I will do my utmost to support the parties in reaching an agreement which ensures that the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement is fully protected, that all of its institutions function effectively and fairly and that previous agreements are honourably implemented".

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