Tuesday 6 December 2016

Flanagan: Britain does not have jurisdiction over all of Lough Foyle

Published 19/11/2016 | 02:30

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan Photo: Tom Burke
Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan Photo: Tom Burke

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has insisted that the British government does not have jurisdiction over all of Lough Foyle.

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Mr Flanagan said that officials from his department have been in contact with their counterparts in the Northern Ireland Office after Secretary of State James Brokenshire reasserted London's claim over the entire lough.

Jurisdictional claims have been made over the lough, which straddles Derry and Donegal, for decades. But the row reignited this week.

"Can I say clearly in the first instance that there are no new claims here, there are no fresh assertions," Mr Flanagan said, following a meeting of the North South Ministerial Council in Armagh.

"However, rather than dwell on the negatives, I think it's important that we look forward and see how best this situation might be resolved and I would like to see the Loughs Agency work towards its full potential."

He added: "My officials have been in contact with officials of the office for the Secretary of State."

The fallout from the Brexit vote dominated the meeting of ministers from both sides of the Border.

Topics discussed included the Border, peace process funds, and the movement of people and goods.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Mr Flanagan were keen to stress the close co-operation between the two jurisdictions, after unionists boycotted the recent all-island civic Brexit forum in Dublin.

Useful

"It was actually one of the best meetings that I've attended at the North South Ministerial," Mr Kenny said.

Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster described it as a "useful meeting".

"The Taoiseach has been very good to share some of the discussions that are going on at a European level in terms of the Republic of Ireland's government, and we are very grateful to hear that," she said.

But Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the British government did not know what Brexit meant, and warned of the impact it could have on the peace process.

Irish Independent

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