The organisation and membership of UK cabinet committee structures for leaving the European Union is a matter solely for the UK Government. Our Government has made clear that the matter of Northern Ireland and the peace process is a top priority in our approach to the UK departure from the European Union. I and my Cabinet colleagues will be working with a range of stakeholders, including the Northern Ireland Executive, to ensure that the outcome of any EU-UK negotiations take account of the unique and particular circumstances of Northern Ireland. Our priorities in this area are to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement and the overall balance of the settlement is protected following the UK's exit from the European Union and to maintain the open and effectively invisible Border. The wider economic impact for the all-island economy are also of concern, as is the potential consequence for EU support under peace and INTERREG programmes.
The Government and British Government have reaffirmed that the Good Friday Agreement is the indispensable foundation for all engagement on Northern Ireland. This provides much-needed reassurance for people and the political system in Northern Ireland, but we are under no illusions about the hard work needed to deliver it. As a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, the Government is determined that the provisions of the Agreement are protected and reflected in any new relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
The exit on the part of the UK from the European Union will be a lengthy and complex political negotiation over the next two years or more, involving all EU member states and EU institutions as appropriate. As Ireland is a committed EU member state, the Government will be playing an active role in those negotiations once they begin with a view to ensuring Ireland's interest and those of the wider European Union.
As part of our preparations for this process, I have carried out a round of contacts with all of my EU counterparts in order to make them aware of the need for specific arrangements to protect the key gains of the peace process on this island - a process to which the European Union has already made a key contribution.
The Taoiseach has met Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and other EU Heads of Government to convey Ireland's concerns. This is an ongoing process of engagement and the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and I recently met the Commission's chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Dublin.
Our embassy network across the European Union is being fully deployed in support of this process which will be assisted also by the allocation of additional resources to our permanent representation in Brussels and our embassies in Berlin, Paris and London.
I assure the House that the Government will continue to use its influence with our EU partners in the upcoming UK exit negotiations to highlight the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland and the consequences for North-South co-operation on the island as a whole, which must be factored into any new relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.