Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Ceisteanna (127, 128, 129, 130)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

127. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his meeting with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland at the British-Irish Council meeting held at Farmleigh recently. [48637/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

128. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the issues he discussed when he met the First Minister of Scotland when attending the British-Irish Council meeting. [48642/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

129. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the discussions held at the recent British-Irish Council on the future relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom particularly in the areas of education and research. [48645/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

130. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on discussions regarding tariff and quota-free trade between Ireland and the UK at the recent British-Irish Council meeting. [48646/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 127 to 130, inclusive, together.

I was pleased to welcome the Administration Heads from Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey and the British Government to Dublin for the 33rd British Irish Council on 15th November. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the inaugural meeting of the British-Irish Council and it was agreed that the Council continues to be a valued institution of the Good Friday Agreement - it is a vital institution offering opportunities to engage on matters of mutual interest across our respective competencies.

The Summit provided an opportunity for Ministers to update the Council on their actions regarding Brexit and discuss the latest domestic political developments across their jurisdictions along with topics of mutual interest such as the economy, trade and ongoing relations with the EU.

The Council discussed the political situation in Northern Ireland, and regretted that Northern Ireland will not be represented politically at this important forum until the Executive is restored.

The Summit also heard from Health Ministers from each administration who met that morning to discuss Health and Social Initiatives to Combat Substance Misuse – in particular, the enhanced, innovative addiction treatment and rehabilitation services which will be central to tackling problematic drug and alcohol use in Dublin’s North East Inner City.

There were no discussions specifically relating to quotas and tariff free trade between Ireland and the UK or on the future relationship between Ireland and the UK in the areas of education and research.

While I did not have a dedicated bilateral meeting with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, over the course of several conversations during the Summit we discussed our respective perspectives on the British Irish Council, political developments and agreed that we want to see the Good Friday institutions up and running again as soon as possible.

I had a bilateral meeting with First Minister Sturgeon, during which we discussed Brexit, political developments and the ongoing review of bilateral relations between Ireland and Scotland.