Ireland would respond "very generously" to a request from Britain to delay its exit from the European Union, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said today. 

But Mr Donohoe said that London will need to convince the European Union that such an extension would reduce rather than increase the risk of economic disruption when it eventually leaves, he added. 

"What is really important to us and to the European Union is that we are all clear what that extension period is for and that the availability of that extension period doesn't in any way heighten the kind of economic risk that we are trying to avoid at the moment," Mr Donohoe said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in London. 

British politicians voted overwhelmingly yesterday to seek a delay in Britain's exit from the EU, due on March 29, but this must be agreed by each of the bloc's members. 

Paschal Donohoe also said that many European Union leaders want to know clearly how Britain would use any extension to the Brexit process before granting it. 

"Clearly given all that we have all gone through in watching the British political system grapple with the complexity of Brexit, there are many in the European Union that would want to be very clear on how this extension period will be used," the Minister said.