Fishing is the most difficult remaining issue in trade talks between Britain and the European Union and has the potential to scupper the talks, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney warned on Monday.
With just over four weeks left until the United Kingdom finally leaves the EU's orbit on 31 December, each side is demanding concessions from the other on fishing, state aid, and dispute resolution.
"If there isn't an agreement on this (fishing), the whole thing could fall on the back of it and that's the worry," Coveney told Newstalk.
A 'More Real Issue'
Coveney said he believed the British government understood that there would be no deal without agreement on state aid and a dispute resolution mechanism, but was trying to separate fishing from the other issues.
"Ironically, actually, fish is a more difficult thing to get agreement on ... because it is in some ways a more real issue. You know: 'How many fish can we catch now?'" he said.
"If the UK wants a deal here, there's a deal to be done. If the UK wants to use fish as an excuse not to have a deal, then that could happen too," he said.