- Brexit and Northern Ireland dominated the Minister’s meetings in London today
- Minister had friendly and frank exchange on Brexit with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis MP and also met Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Exiting the EU Sir Keir Starmer, MP.
- The Minister took stock on the political situation in Northern Ireland in meetings with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Smith MP
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for Brexit, Simon Coveney TD, completed a busy programme of meetings in London today (Thursday). The day’s key meeting was with Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, David Davis MP.
Speaking in London after his meetings had concluded, the Minister said:
"I was delighted to sit down for a discussion with Secretary of State Davis today. This was our first meeting since I took over responsibility for Ireland’s approach to the Brexit negotiations.
"Given that the negotiations between the EU and the UK were formally launched last month, this was an important and timely opportunity to meet with the UK’s lead negotiator on Brexit and to reaffirm Ireland’s priorities for the negotiations.
"Our discussion was friendly but also frank and blunt; I l left him with no illusion about the challenges around Irish specific issues on Brexit. I emphasised that protecting the gains of the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement in all of its parts was of fundamental importance.
"More broadly, the first round of discussions between the EU-UK were constructive, and that’s encouraging. As I explained to the Secretary of State from the EU perspective, we have prepared well and are ready, through the Commission Taskforce, to discuss the priorities issues of citizens’ rights, the UK’s financial liabilities and the Irish specific issues, especially around the boder.
"I was delighted that Secretary Davis has agreed to visit the border region with me to hear about the concerns of people living and working there.
Time is short but with good will across the board, and a fair and open minded approach on all sides, sufficient progress can be made in the coming months. It’s in all of our interests to advance on the ‘exit’ issues so that we can move quickly to discussions on the shape of the future EU-UK relationship."
While in Westminster, the Minister met with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire MP and with Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Smith MP. He also had an opportunity to meet with Ireland on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ireland the Irish in Britain.
Minister Coveney continued:
"It was opportune to take stock on the political situation in Northern Ireland with Secretary James Brokenshire and to meet the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Smith."
Minister Coveney is travelling from London to Bratislava for a series of engagements in the Slovak capital on 7 July.