Ireland and Wales publish plan on post-Brexit relationship

Initiative aims to increase bilateral political co-operation between nations

Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford: “Our shared ambitions are more important than ever as we both look towards recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.” File photograph: Matthew Horwood/Getty

Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford: “Our shared ambitions are more important than ever as we both look towards recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.” File photograph: Matthew Horwood/Getty

 

Ireland and Wales have for the first time published a joint action plan on their post-Brexit relationship.

The joint statement, published today, which is the Welsh national holiday – St David’s Day – was agreed by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford for the period up to 2025.

The initiative aims to increase collaboration across a range of sectors, including business, the arts, sports and community matters.

It identifies 40 actions in fields such as climate and sustainability; trade and tourism; education and research; and culture, language and heritage.

One aim is to increase bilateral political co-operation and to build on engagements between the Taoiseach and first minister at British-Irish council summits with annual high-level visits and greater ministerial engagement. An Ireland-Wales forum is planned for this year.

The Welsh and Irish governments said their intention was “to maintain the closest possible relationship” between the nations after Brexit.

“The UK’s departure from the EU has already brought change and it will undoubtedly alter and reshape the Ireland-Wales relationship in the coming years,” they said. “That said, for Ireland, Wales remains a natural partner and the ports of Wales will continue to be a vital gateway to Great Britain and beyond.”

Ireland is set to open a consulate general in Wales this year, while the agreement also commits to providing €150,000 to support the teaching of Irish at Aberystwyth and Cardiff universities, and to provide grants for students from these courses to spend time studying in Gaeltacht regions.

Mr Drakeford said: “Our shared ambitions are more important than ever as we both look towards recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.”