‘Australia can be a bridge into Asia for Ireland’– Australian governor general

Sir Peter Cosgrove says the two countries must form closer trade links following Brexit

Ireland and Australia must form tighter trade bonds following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, and the election of Donald Trump in America, the governor general of the Commonwealth of Australia has said.

Speaking at an Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce business breakfast in Dublin on Friday, Sir Peter Cosgrove, said "Australia can be a bridge into Asia for Ireland".

Speaking to the business gathering, which was organised by Irish law firm Arthur Cox, Sir Peter said “both Australia’s and Ireland’s economic strategies have been based on the premise that international markets will remain open, liberal, and based on clear and mutually accepted rules.”

“But recent global developments, such as the outcome of the US presidential election, mean that premise can no longer be taken for granted


“The Brexit vote in Britain means that in both Australia and Ireland, we need to re-evaluate how we do business in Europe, and how much risk we are prepared to have concentrated in one market” he said.

Ireland could become a vital trade bridge into the wider European Union market for Australian businesses, Sir Peter said.

A bilateral Australian-EU free trade agreement is vital in growing trade between the two markets, he said. “We welcome the expressions of support we have had from Ireland for this negotiation. We believe the agreement will form the cornerstone for increasing partnership in the future” he said.

The focus of the event was how Ireland can offer Australian businesses a route into EU markets, and how Australia can serve as a springboard into other Asian markets for Irish businesses.

Sir Peter attended a private "working lunch" meeting with President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin on Friday afternoon.

Sir Peter’s visit comes ahead of President Higgins’s State visit to Australia next month, where he will meet the Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnball.

Mr Higgins’s extensive tour of the country will see him visit Irish communities in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Hobart, Canberra and Brisbane.

A spokesman for the President said the visit is aimed at “strengthening economic, tourism, cultural and political links between the two nations”.

After Australia, Mr Higgins will travel to New Zealand where he will meet prime minister Bill English, as well as other political leaders, business representatives and Maori elders.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times