Ireland's top diplomat to the UK has said the relationship with Britain "will be more difficult to manage" when Brexit finally happens, but "it won't be an impossible task."
Daniel Mulhall, the Irish ambassador to Britain, told IBTimes UK he was determined to "preserve the very positive relationship" that has developed between the two countries in recent decades.
Ireland is successfully emerging from the deep recession it went into during the financial crisis, and has strong trade and tourism ties with the UK. But there are concerns within Ireland that its economy will take a hit if the UK leaves the single market.
Asked what Ireland's post-Brexit relationship would be, Ambassador Mulhall said: "Ireland is committed to continued membership of the European Union. We want the European Union to flourish and prosper and meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.
"At the same time – and there's no contradiction between these two statements – we want to continue to have as close as possible a relationship with our neighbours in the UK.
"That relationship will be more difficult to manage when the UK is outside the European Union but it's not an impossible task. It can be managed and will be managed in my view so it's not a question of either/or.
"It's a question of minimising the negative impact on Ireland of the UK's departure from the European Union by preserving as best as we can the very positive relationship that has developed between the UK and Ireland in recent decades."
In a wide-ranging interview with IBTimes UK, the ambassador also addressed the political impasse in Northern Ireland following the resignation of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
"The only way to resolve a political impasse is to find solutions. And those solutions can only be found by talking, and doing things that are conducive to agreement."