Minister Flanagan and Taoiseach welcome participants to Civic Dialogue17 February 2017
Minister Flanagan joins Taoiseach in welcoming 500 participants to second plenary All Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit
- Minister says All Island Civic Dialogue process is an important part of the government's overall strategy
- Ireland's future is best protected by being at the heart of the EU
The Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., today co-hosted the government's second plenary meeting of the All-Island Civic Dialogue.
The event, held in Dublin Castle built on the 14 minister-led sectoral consultation events held over the past two months. The Minister said:
"The sectoral dialogue process has been immensely valuable in augmenting the government's analysis and in contributing to the identification of the many aspects that will need to be addressed in the Article 50 negotiations ahead. The fact that twice the number of delegates attended the second plenary session indicates both a willingness across civil society to work with the Irish government to meet the challenges of Brexit and an acknowledgment of the value of this dialogue process.
"Once Article 50 has been triggered, Brexit will move into a different phase. The All-Island Civic Dialogue will continue to be a very important part of the government's approach to Brexit, informing our overall strategy."
Opening a special session on Northern Ireland, Minister Flanagan said the Irish government was resolute in seeking for our unique circumstances to be both respected and protected:
"This means respecting fully all provisions of the Good Friday Agreement; and recognising in meaningful ways the right of the people of Northern Ireland to be Irish and therefore EU citizens, including through the preservation of the open border, which benefits all people on this island. Achieving this, particularly in relation to the border, will require compromises on both sides of the EU-UK negotiations when they commence"
Noting the complex global environment in which the UK exit from the EU will be happening, Minister Flanagan concluded:
"Brexit is not a single challenge that is occurring in a vacuum. My message therefore is that in handling the present great global challenges facing us, we must as ever learn from the past, adhere to our principles and think of the future - a future with Ireland at the heart of Europe".