Martin's meeting with Hague scuppered
THE first official meeting between the Government and the new Tory-Liberal coalition in the UK has been scuppered by the volcanic ash cloud.
Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin was due to meet his British counterpart, William Hague, at an EU summit in Madrid yesterday.
The meeting between Mr Martin and the new British foreign secretary would have been the first between cabinet ministers from the two countries since the coalition assumed power last week.
But Mr Martin was grounded and was unable to leave Ireland yesterday.
However, Taoiseach Brian Cowen arrived in the Spanish capital last night for the sixth EU-Latin America and the Caribbean (EU-LAC) summit.
He will attend the full summit today and it is expected that the global financial crisis and climate change will dominate the agenda.
Mr Cowen is also due to discuss the eurozone crisis, and perhaps the European Commission's plans to scrutinise domestic budgets.
Mr Martin was due to fly out to Spain early yesterday morning for a meeting of EU-LAC foreign ministers.
However, he had to scrap his plans after the ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull shut Irish airspace. Alternative arrangements are being put in place for the pair to meet.