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Brexit Issues

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 20 November 2018

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Questions (116)

Niall Collins


116. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to put new formal structures for dialogue in place between Ireland and the UK in recognition of the need to maintain close ties post-Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48017/18]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The question of new structures for dialogue between Ireland and the UK post-Brexit was considered at a recent meeting of the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference, which took place in Dublin on 2 November. The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan TD, and I represented the Government. The UK Government was represented by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, David Lidington MP, and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley MP.

At the Conference, we discussed a joint paper prepared by Irish and British officials. The paper outlined a number of possible models to maintain and strengthen the high level of bilateral co-operation between Ireland and the UK after it leaves the European Union. Both Governments agreed that these new structures for systemic bilateral co-operation should demonstrate the strength and depth of the relationship, provide opportunities for ministers and officials to continue to engage with each other, and provide an overall architecture for cooperation that is both meaningful and sustainable in the future.

As announced following the Conference, this model would include top level summits involving Heads of Government and senior ministers and would alternate between Ireland and the UK. These summits would be supported by close bilateral work by ministers. Officials on both sides have been asked to turn these ideas into a detailed practical plan of work with a view to presenting a fully worked through proposal for future East-West cooperation for consideration at the next meeting of the Conference. The next meeting of the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference will take place in spring 2019.