Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon visits Dublin

Leader of SNP to visit Áras an Uachtaráin, Trinity College and address Seanad

Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly said that she does not want to see Scotland taken out of the EU against its will. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly said that she does not want to see Scotland taken out of the EU against its will. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

 

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon will visit Dublin on Monday where she has a number of engagements including lunch at Áras an Uachtaráin with President Michael D Higgins.

On Monday, Ms Sturgeon will visit Trinity College where she will receive an honorary patronage from the Philosophical Society and take part in a question and answer session with an audience of students.

On Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon will attend a business breakfast organised by employers’ group Ibec before travelling to Leinster House to address the Seanad, becoming the first foreign leader to address the upper house.

She will also have talks with the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan during the course of her visit. Ms Sturgeon met with Taoiseach Enda Kenny last Friday at the British-Irish Council meeting in Cardiff, where the two leaders discussed the implications of Brexit for Ireland and Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly said that she does not want to see Scotland taken out of the EU against its will. Scottish voters voted by a significant majority (62 per cent) to remain in the European Union in last June’s referendum, but Scotland is scheduled to leave the union with the rest of the UK in 2019. Sturgeon’s efforts to build support among EU governments for Scottish membership of the single market even after the UK exists have met with a cool response.

Supportive

Yesterday, in an interview published in the Sunday Business Post, Ms Sturgeon said that she had not asked the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to advocate for Scotland at the European Council, but said that Mr Kenny had been very supportive of Scotland.

In a statement issued from Edinburgh is advance of her visit, Mr Sturgeon said she would be “stressing the Scottish Government’s commitment to the principle of European solidarity and the benefits Scotland receives from membership of the European Single Market.

“Given the close proximity of our countries, Ireland is a strategic partner for Scotland. The opening of a Scottish Government Innovation and Investment hub earlier this year demonstrates the value we put on this relationship.

“During my visit to Ireland, I look forward to further developing these areas of common interest to ensure deeper collaboration between our governments to deliver greater economic prosperity for both countries.”

Ms Sturgeon has raised the prospect of a second independence referendum if Scotland is taken out of the EU and the single market against its will. In the referendum on independence held in 2015, when 55 per cent of Scots voted to remain part of the United Kingdom, pro-union supporters warned that an independent Scotland would be outside the EU and would need to apply for membership.

Now independence supporters, including many in Ms Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party, are arguing that independence is the only way to maintain membership of the EU.