Taoiseach Enda Kenny today attended an extraordinary summit of the British-Irish Council in Cardiff to discuss the impact of the EU referendum.
The meeting, the 27th of its kind, was to assess the implications of the Brexit vote on all member administrations.
Mr Kenny was joined by the Irish Foreign Minister, Charles Flanagan, who said it was important for the attendees to discuss their future relationships with the EU.
“The main areas of concern to all members of the Council are the economy and trade, the Common Travel Area, the status of our citizens and the UK’s future relations with the EU,” he said.
The new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, was also at the summit, and Mr Flanagan explained how he was looking forward to meeting him in person for the first time.
“Both of us have already made clear our shared commitment to the Good Friday Agreement and its institutions,” he said.
“The protection of this foundational agreement and continuing all of the subsequent progress made in building peace, reconciliation and prosperity in Northern Ireland is I know an objective which is shared by the British and Irish Government and by the Northern Ireland Executive.”
The British-Irish Council was established under the Good Friday Agreement and is intended to develop and further links between its eight Member Administrations.
The Chief Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, was present and described the summit as “one of the most important ever meetings” of the Council.
Ms Sturgeon spoke of Scotland’s personal results in the referendum and defended its aim to maintain a working relationship with the EU.
“Scotland voted overwhelming to remain within the European Union and that democratic choice by the Scottish people – so important to our economy, society and culture – will guide us as we seek to maintain our relationship with the EU,” she said.
“As I have consistently said, we will explore all options to ensure that relationship is protected, and the new Prime Minister [Theresa May] gave me an undertaking when we met in Edinburgh last Friday that she is willing to consider the options we put forward.
“This British-Irish Council meeting is the first opportunity we have had as a forum to properly discuss the referendum result and what it means for each of our administrations.”
The summit was hosted by the First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones, with Northern Ireland First Minister, Arlene Foster, and deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, as well as representatives from all member administrations in attendance.