Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said a post-Brexit trade deal is “likely” but it will not be easy.
Mr Coveney described talks between the EU and the UK as currently being in a “very serious zone” and said he is “under no illusion of the challenges” as they try to come to an agreement.
He said the next 10 to 14 days is the “realistic” timeline now “to complete this. “We’re likely to get a deal but it won’t be easy,” Mr Coveney said.
Talks between the EU and the UK on a post-Brexit trade deal will take place in Brussels from Thursday.
The EU, led by Michel Barnier, and the UK, led by David Frost, have been meeting in London since the negotiations restarted last week.
Mr Coveney made the comments on Tuesday during a Irish Farmers’ Journal webinar.
The Fine Gael TD said the EU is working towards a “no trade deal Brexit” and there will be “no more extensions of time” when it came to the negotiations.
“There’s no such thing as a no-deal Brexit any more, what we’re now fighting for is a no trade deal Brexit which from an agricultural perspective would be hugely disruptive on many, many levels,” he said.
“We’ve got to be ready for January 1st, there’s going to be no more extensions of time, no more transition periods.
“Time is up at the end of the year.”