Local Minister to open key Brexit talks

Minister Joe McHugh TD.
Minister Joe McHugh TD.

Donegal Minister Joe McHugh TD is to address a ‘crucial’ two-day gathering of parliamentarians from across Ireland and Britain on Monday, following the Brexit vote.

Representatives from the Houses of the Oireachtas will join others from the Northern Ireland Assembly, the UK Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the High Court of Tynwald (Isle of Man) and the States of Guernsey and Jersey at the first major international gathering since the UK voted to leave the European Union.

Mr McHugh - Minister of State for the Diaspora and Overseas Development Aid at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - will open proceedings at the two day conference with an update on current developments in British and Irish relations.

The implications of Brexit will be among the key issues for debate during the 52nd plenary meeting of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA), which will meet at the Grand Hotel in Malahide.

Patrick O’Donovan, TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, meanwhile will address the Assembly on the subject of tourism and interconnectivity between Britain and Ireland.

Speaking in advance of the talks BIPA Irish Co-Chair, Kathleen Funchion TD, said: “I look forward to welcoming members of BIPA to Dublin.

“The Brexit vote has the potential to fundamentally change relationships on our islands.

“The Irish Members of BIPA welcome the opportunity to come together with our colleagues from across these islands to discuss a range of pivotal issues.

“Obviously, the referendum result will be discussed at the Plenary, particularly as we all seek to support the continuation of the close and mutually beneficial ties that exist between all our nations.”

She added: “The dual themes of this Plenary are ‘International tourism opportunities for Ireland and the UK’ and ‘Commemoration and Reconciliation’.

“Over the course of the session we will continue our work building good relations among the nations and peoples of these islands.”

Vice-Chair, Andrew Rosindell MP, said: “This session of the British-Irish Parliamentary session comes at a crucial time in the relationship between our two nations.

“As Britain negotiates its exit from the European Union, we must ensure that we maintain excellent relations with our closest neighbour.”

He added: “I am looking forward to meeting with my counterparts in the Oireachtas, and in the UK’s devolved institutions, and discussing some of the issues that will need to be settled in the coming months.”