No doubt, you will realise that I had hoped to be writing a different message to you all today. The UK electorate’s decision to leave the EU is quite evidently an important moment for the UK itself, for the EU and for Ireland.
The Irish Government wanted Britain to continue to be a leading member of the EU alongside Ireland. The British people have spoken and we fully respect their decision. We have prepared to the greatest extent possible for this eventuality.
It is important to stress that there will be no immediate change to the free flow of people, goods and services between our islands. Negotiations on future arrangements will take a considerable amount of time to complete. It is important to stress that Britain remains a member of the European Union until negotiations have been concluded.
Minister Charlie Flanagan has reiterated his intention to maintain the outreach and engagement with the Irish community in the UK to ensure their concerns are taken on board as the negotiations process moves forward.
Speaking on the Common Travel Area, An Taoiseach said earlier today:
“For our part, the Irish Government will do our utmost in upcoming discussions to maintain the Common Travel Area and minimise any possible disruptions to the flow of people, goods and services between these islands.
We are acutely aware of the concerns which will be felt across the Irish community in Britain. I want to assure them that the Irish Government will also have their interests in our thinking as we approach the forthcoming negotiations”.
The Government is fully prepared to meet the various challenges that will arise. We have engaged in detailed contingency planning for the possibility of this result. Our primary objective remains to protect and advance Irish interests.
Ireland will, of course, remain a member of the European Union. That is in our national interest. After more than 40 years of membership, we have built up strong bonds of partnership with all the other member states, and with the European institutions, that will continue to serve us well.
While Ireland’s future lies within the European Union, we will work to maintain our excellent bilateral relationship with the UK and continue to work closely with the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive as co-guarantors of the peace process.
Over the next few weeks and months, the Irish Government and the Embassy team will work to ensure that our partners and various stakeholders are fully aware of Ireland’s continued position as a fully committed member of the European Union and as a strong, diversified economy. While the outcome of the UK referendum is certainly disappointing, the Irish government is determined to ensure that the peace, stability and prosperity achieved over recent decades is protected and sustained.
I look forward to continuing our regular conversations and vibrant work together in enhancing the strength of the community here and the relationships on these islands.
You may find some of the following information useful in relation to the Government’s position in reaction to today’s result:
· The Taoiseach’s statement today.
· We are updating our Embassy website regularly, including with FAQ on Irish citizenship and passport and other information.
· Further information, including a wider Q&A, statements and the Government’s contingency plans, are on the Merrion Street website.
Le gach dea ghuí,
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