The Taoiseach and the Government have maintained a clear and consistent position on this issue. It has been, and remains, that the Government's preferred outcome is a deal on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement. This is the best way to ensure an orderly withdrawal, protect the Good Friday Agreement and avoid a hard border. Without a Withdrawal Agreement, avoiding a border would become more complex and challenging. There are no easy answers, and any solution will be suboptimal compared to the backstop contained in the Withdrawal Agreement.
The Brexit Contingency Action Plan Update of July 2019 makes it clear that a no-deal Brexit would result in far-reaching change on the island of Ireland. The Government is working closely with the European Commission to meet the shared, twin objectives of protecting the Single Market and Ireland's place in it, and avoiding physical infrastructure at the border. This work is looking at the necessary checks to preserve Ireland's full participation in the Single Market and Customs Union, and this work is on-going.
Avoiding the return of a hard border is a Government priority. The Government must protect peace on the island and the success of the all-island economy. This is why the backstop continues to be a critical component of the Withdrawal Agreement, unless and until a realistic, legally-binding, and practical alternative is found. As the Taoiseach made clear in his comments, no such proposal has been received to date.