In an interview with the Financial Times Coveney said that a beneficial outcome for the British and Irish economies required “a sensible and pragmatic approach” which he felt would take “closer to four or five years rather than two.”
Coveney said that coming to a Brexit agreement should not be a game of chicken. “It’s a much worse outcome for Britain and Ireland than for everybody else if there’s no deal,” he said.
He said that he felt it was unrealistic to agree a complete UK-EU trade deal by next year, despite that being the aim of UK prime minister Theresa May .
Yesterday, May seemed to soften her stance on the need for a transition period. She told an audience at the Confederation for British Industry conference that “a strictly time-limited implementation period” will “take time to finalise” but will be crucial to the UK’s success.
A fortnight ago, former Taoiseach Edna Kenny told a New York audience that the Brexit transition has to be “as long as necessary”, describing a hard Brexit as “potentially catastrophic."