Thursday 14 December 2017

Globalisation has served us well - we will stay the course

With Brexit and the rise of populism, we need to work to maintain our ties across the world stage, writes Charlie Flanagan

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan. Photo: PA
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan. Photo: PA

Charlie Flanagan

This time last year, the word Brexit was an abstract concept for many people. Only weeks before the UK voted to leave the EU, I spoke to a conference at the Royal Irish Academy, and remembered the words of US president Barack Obama: "The world is a tough, complicated, messy place."

Today, our world is no less tough, infinitely more complicated and, unless we remain vigilant, it has the potential to get a lot messier.

The outcome of the UK referendum was a shock. Stock markets tumbled, the Minister for Finance warned of economic threats and the Taoiseach called for cool heads and clear minds. Yet we were not unprepared. Within hours, the Government published a detailed contingency framework, identifying key policy issues.

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