Wednesday 28 September 2016

Ireland sidelined as the UK cuts new trade deals

Published 14/07/2016 | 02:30

British Ambassador to Ireland Dominick Chilcott; the chairman of Dublin City Council’s Enterprise & Economic Development, Cllr Paul McAuliffe; and Minister of State for Financial Services, eGovernment and Public Procurement Eoghan Murphy, at the Dublin City Council Brexit event yesterday. Photo: Kevin McFeeley
British Ambassador to Ireland Dominick Chilcott; the chairman of Dublin City Council’s Enterprise & Economic Development, Cllr Paul McAuliffe; and Minister of State for Financial Services, eGovernment and Public Procurement Eoghan Murphy, at the Dublin City Council Brexit event yesterday. Photo: Kevin McFeeley

The UK will be working on forging quick, bilateral trade deals with countries around the world to demonstrate that it can survive outside of the European Union, Britain's outgoing ambassador to Ireland has said.

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But it will be barred from doing any special side deal with Ireland as we'll form part of the EU negotiations, Dominick Chilcott told a Brexit event organised by Dublin City Council.

"I think you'll hear a lot in the coming months about how we can make bilateral deals with other countries," Mr Chilcott said.

"There's some activity already - the Business Secretary from the UK has been in India in the last week - and there'll no doubt be high level approaches made to a number of governments around the world to see whether they are ready to do a quick trade deal with us to show that there is a momentum for life outside the European Union for the UK. "Unfortunately, in Ireland's case there can be no special side deal in trade between the UK and Ireland," he said.

"We will be subject to the same rules that will apply as between the UK and all of the EU."

Mr Chilcott said the post-Brexit model for the UK which would do the least damage to business relations between it and Ireland is the one used by Norway.

But he said Norway has to pay a significant contribution to the EU budget, has to accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, and the free movement of people.

"All of those things will be difficult for the incoming government if it is set to deliver the outcome of the referendum," the ambassador said.

Also speaking at the event were junior minister at the Department of Finance, Eoghan Murphy and John McGrane, head of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce.

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