Saturday 24 March 2018

Government is 'ready for the task of Brexit' as strategy is published

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan Picture: Tom Burke
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan Picture: Tom Burke Newsdesk

The Government is "ready for the task" of Brexit, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has said as the strategy for negotiations was published today.

The document emphasises that the Common Travel Area must be kept, the risks to Ireland's trade and economy must be minimised and there should be no return to a hard border.

It also emphasises how Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland must continue to enjoy their rights as EU citizens.

The document also shows the Government's five-point approach. It reads;

  • sustainable fiscal policies to ensure capacity to absorb and respond to economic shocks, not least from Brexit;
  • policies to make Irish enterprise more diverse and resilient, to diversify trade and investment patterns, and to strengthen competitiveness;
  • prioritising policy measures and dedicating resources to protect jobs and businesses in the sectors and regions most affected by Brexit;
  • realising economic opportunities arising from Brexit, and helping businesses adjust to any new logistical or trade barriers arising;
  • making a strong case at EU level that Ireland will require support that recognises where Brexit represents a serious disturbance to the Irish economy.

The strategy reports that Brexit will present risks for sectors that operate on an all-Ireland basis which include food, retail, tourism, fishing and energy.

Speaking on RTE's Six One, Minister Flanagan said Ireland's existing arrangements with the UK should be "factored into the final position".

"What we need to ensure is that the existing arrangements that we have with the UK are factored into the final position. It's too early to say about new regulation and about new relationships," he said.

"What I can say is that our unique circumstances on the island of Ireland have been factored in at this stage.

"What we need to ensure now is that continues right throughout what is going to be a very difficult and challenging process."

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