French minister acknowledges ‘unique’ issues Brexit causes State

Jean-Marc Ayrault discusses trade and UK’s decision with Charlie Flanagan in Dublin

The French foreign minister has further acknowledged the State’s unique economic challenges in relation to Brexit during talks on Wednesday.

Jean-Marc Ayrault was in Dublin to meet Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan on a number of subjects, although focusing on Britain's impending departure from the EU.

The meeting built on previous bilateral talks in Paris.

"I was heartened today when minister Ayrault once again expressed a strong commitment on the part of France to ensuring the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process is fully protected," Mr Flanagan said.


“He further publicly acknowledged Ireland’s unique challenges in respect of the Border and our economic relationship with the UK.”

The State will enter the article 50 negotiations, expected to begin next month, as part of an EU team.

The Irish-French talks also focused on trade, a particular concern for Irish exporters.

“Our response to Brexit includes a strong focus on deepening our trade links with European partners,” Mr Flanagan said.

“France is Ireland’s leading export market globally for lamb, seafood and artisan beer; our second largest export market globally for beef and our third largest market for whiskey.

“We will continue to build on these very strong foundations while also ensuring appropriate diversification of our export offering.”

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times