Irish Government ministers show solidarity for Scotland ahead of Brexit talks
IRISH FOREIGN MINISTER CHARLIE FLANAGAN and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon signalled a willingness to build a Celtic Alliance through common interests in the Brexit negotiations.
Flanagan and Sturgeon met yesterday evening (Monday 28 November) in the Irish foreign ministry in Dublin to discuss Scots-Irish relations and response to the continuing Brexit crisis.
Both governments share a determination to minimise disruption to trade and free movement through campaigning for the softest Brexit deal possible. Both the Irish and Scottish governments want the UK to stay within the EU Single Market, despite Tory threats to cut economic ties to attack migrants’ rights.
Flanagan, in a post-meeting press conference, said: “The issue of Brexit was undoubtedly on our agenda. Ireland is anxious to be helpful and constructive towards issues relating to Scotland.”
He added it was a “shared interest” for the UK to keep as close a relationship as possible with the EU.
The overture to consider Scotland’s position in Brexit talks follows similar supportive comments from Irish minister Denis Naughten that the country will negotiate “conscious” of Scotland’s vote to remain in the EU.
Sturgeon, signalling a close coalition with Ireland, echoed calls for any Brexit to grant a special status to Northern Ireland – a position she said would benefit everyone.
Any special deal for Northern Ireland would raise calls for Scotland to also be granted its own status to respect the popular vote to remain, and the economic and political issues safeguarded within the EU.
Sturgeon, speaking on Ireland’s top political interest in Brexit talks, said: “All of us understand the paramount importance of protecting the peace process in Ireland, and protecting the Good Friday agreement. The Scottish Government is fully supportive of all efforts to make sure that all issues that arise around the border between the north and the south are resolved.”
Ireland will be one of 27 EU states negotiating with the Tory Government, alongside the European Commission and European Parliament.
Tory plans for a ‘hard Brexit’ has caused great concern among Irish politicians and the Irish business community.
Sturgeon, as part of a two day visit to Dublin, will address the Irish senate today (Tuesday 29 November), becoming the first serving head of the Scottish Government to do so.
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