Governments plan high-level meeting after Brexit vote

Mary Mitchell O’Connor says talks on July 1st will focus on outcome of EU referendum

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said most Fine Gael Cabinet members, including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, will visit the United Kingdom between now and June 23rd to emphasise  that the UK staying within the EU would be good for it and also good for Ireland. Photograph: Getty Images

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said most Fine Gael Cabinet members, including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, will visit the United Kingdom between now and June 23rd to emphasise that the UK staying within the EU would be good for it and also good for Ireland. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The Irish and British governments have scheduled a high- level meeting for the week after Britain’s EU referendum to discuss the consequences of the outcome.

“We have a very high-powered meeting organised on July 1st – after the 23rd – so whatever the result we will be meeting with the UK government,” Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor told The Irish Times

EU leaders will discuss the outcome of the referendum at a meeting in Brussels on June 28th but a vote in favour of Brexit would raise specific issues for the British-Irish relationship, including the future of the Common Travel Area and the border.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan yesterday confirmed most Fine Gael Cabinet members, including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, will visit the United Kingdom between now and June 23rd, with the specific goal of emphasising the Government’s position that the UK staying within the EU would be good for it and also good for Ireland.

In addition to Ms Mitchell O’Connor’s visit to Leeds, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe will visit Newcastle and Sunderland; and Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and Minister for Education Richard Bruton will visit Northern Ireland.

Community groups

Mr Flanagan has visited Manchester and Liverpool in recent days and is expected to travel to London ahead of the vote which takes place on June 23rd.

“Our interest solely is to convey the message of British-Irish relations within the EU with particular reference to trade and the economy,” Mr Flanagan said.

The Government has particularly targeted the 400,000 residents in Britain who were born in this State.

Mr Flanagan said he was “worried” at the tight recent opinion polls which have shown momentum building behind the Exit campaign.

He said the focus for the moment was on the referendum but added that the Government’s contingency plans also prepared for the “worst possible outcome”.

Sceptical attitude

He said matters would be further complicated by the fact that the attitude to Europe has been most sceptical in England, whereas in Wales and Scotland the disposition is more positive.

“Negotiations will have to take place on the shape of this messy divorce. Withdrawal will take a long time to complete

“We are not going to wake up on the 25th of June with the island between us and continental Europe out of the Union.”

Mr Flanagan also expressed the view that the “invisible” border between the South and North would be affected.

“I fail to see how the invisible border would not be the matter for discussion. Given it will be an EU frontier, there will trade and customs consequences,” he said. “There are also security issues between a non-EU UK and an EU Ireland. Given the importance of immigration in the debate, I fail to see how the border could not be an issue. ”