Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Ceisteanna (91)

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

91. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to open a new consulate in Liverpool; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49377/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Ireland will seek to maintain a strong and enduring relationship with our nearest neighbour, the United Kingdom, following its departure from the European Union.  This relationship, and our future engagement, will be underpinned by the Common Travel Area, and the Institutions and principles of the Good Friday Agreement. 

As part of “Global Ireland - Ireland’s Global Footprint to 2025,” the Government has committed to opening an additional consulate in another location in Britain post-2019 to further strengthen regional engagement. This is a commitment which the Taoiseach reiterated in June of this year during his visit to Manchester for the British-Irish Council. 

It is envisaged that the new consulate will cover the entire North of England, including major population centres such as Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle. This broadly matches the area known as the “Northern Powerhouse,” an area with a population of c. 15 million people.  A decision on the optimum location for this new consulate will be taken in due course. 

Additionally, it is worth noting that, since the UK referendum on EU membership in 2016, the Government has committed increased resources to our Embassy in London, already the largest bilateral Embassy in our network. These resources have come from both this Department and from several other Government Departments in order to ensure the Embassy's optimal engagement across all relevant policy areas. It is envisaged that the Embassy in London will continue to expand in order to  support the bilateral relationship and to promote and protect Irish interests across every sector in a post-Brexit context. 

Ireland is also well represented across the devolved regions.  In Scotland, the Irish Consulate in Edinburgh continues to be active in promoting and protecting Irish interests, driving a substantive programme of Scottish-Irish cooperation and exchanges.  In addition, our footprint has also been re-established in Wales, where the Consulate in Cardiff re-opened in April of this year, with a political and economic focus.  

From an FDI perspective, the UK is, and will continue to be, a very important source market for Ireland.  It will continue to be the largest market for many of our exports, and the place in which many thousands of our diaspora continue to live, study, and work.  It is a priority of this Government to ensure that these deep and positive relationships continue to be maintained and strenghtened at every level in the coming years.