Survey shows overwhelming support for abortion law reform in Northern Ireland

"While there will be a political border between our two countries, there should not be an economic one and any border that does exist should be invisible", Varadkar, the first openly gay prime minister of Ireland, said following his talks with May.

Concerns have been raised - including by Varadkar himself - that the setup could jeopardise the Northern Ireland peace process.

Foster also said a deal on power-sharing in Northern Ireland is "very likely" this month, according to RTÉ.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has indicated it will push for a "soft" border between Northern Ireland and the Republic as the party closes in on a "confidence and supply" deal with the Conservatives.

"This time they are coming from a position of strength and what they will do is negotiate from their terms and try and get concessions on a whole range of things that benefit Northern Ireland".

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said two weeks is more than enough time to do a deal.

Northern Ireland has been without a powersharing executive since March and without a first and deputy first minister since January, after Sinn Fein collapsed the administration amid faltering trust and relations with the DUP.

The Prime Minister also said both Britain and Ireland want the "reciprocal rights that our citizens enjoy in both countries to continue, including the rights under the Belfast Agreement".

The DUP has rejected Sinn Féin's red line, telling republicans they will not dictate who leads unionism and questioning the logic of taking action against Mrs Foster before a public inquiry has delivered its findings.

"The Prime Minister will have to do a lot more, however, to convince us that the DUP tail isn't wagging the Tory dog". But its influence with Westminster could easily hamper Mrs May's government from functioning as an impartial guarantor during power-sharing negotiations.

"In the north of Ireland, Sinn Fein is enmeshed in institutional politics and their tie-up with EU funding, while in the south it wants to appeal to working class people campaigning against the austerity and privatisation policies promoted by pro-EU Dublin governments, the European Commission and the European Central Bank", he explained.

Amid reports that opposition parties will try to bring down Mrs May with a series of targeted amendments to the Queen's Speech, the PM said she was still pushing for an alignment with the DUP.

"We know each other and we understand each other", she said.

  • Zachary Reyes