Irish PM Kenny says Brexit one of the biggest issues for 50 years

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at 2016.11.02
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Irish PM Kenny says Brexit one of the biggest issues for 50 years

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 3:50pm

Enda Kenny has described Brexit as “one of the most challenging economic and social issues of the last 50 years”.

But the Irish Prime Minister also indicated that people should be able to travel freely between his country and the UK after London has separated from Brussels.

Speaking at a forum to discuss the potential consequences, Mr Kenny said he had agreed with Theresa May to preserve the “benefits of the Common Travel Area” – an arrangement dating back to the 1920s.

Mr Kenny told the forum: “I have agreed with the Prime Minister that there will be no return to the borders of the past.

“Therefore, the retention of an open border is critical.

“Neither I, nor the Prime Minister, desire to limit the freedom of people on both sides of the Irish Sea to trade, to live, to work, to travel freely across these islands.”

The Taoiseach said the peace process in Northern Ireland would be a major priority, adding: “I also acknowledge that the electorate in Northern Ireland did not vote to leave the European Union.”

The leader of Fianna Fail, Ireland’s main opposition party, condemned UK ministers for pursuing what he called a “crude and chaotic” agenda on Brexit.

Micheal Martin told the forum: “Our agenda is the clear one of wanting to minimise the damage and division of Brexit and to maximise progress for all parts of this island.

“Let’s explore radical ways of softening Brexit … Unlike the Foreign Secretary (Boris Johnson), we don’t have the luxury of being pro-having the cake and eating it.”

Referring to EU arrangements for Denmark and Greenland, the leader of Sinn Fein suggested that Northern Ireland be granted a “designated special status”.

Gerry Adams said: “That threatens no-one’s constitutional preference and this state, as a continuing member of the EU, has the right, and in our view the obligation, to bring forward such a proposal.

“The EU has proved itself capable of accommodating unique circumstances.”

People from both the Republic and Northern Ireland gathered for Wednesday’s meeting in Dublin.

The “All-Island Civic Dialogue” is the first of a “series of consultations” and will focus on “the all-island priority areas in relation to Brexit”.

Mr Kenny said it was an “opportunity for government and for politicians to listen to the voices of the different sectors”.

Sky News (c) Sky News 2016: Irish PM Kenny says Brexit one of the biggest issues for 50 years

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Published at Wed, 02 Nov 2016 16:32:02 +0000

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