Ireland goes on Brexit offensive around Europe

Simon Coveney is attending talks across the continent

Ireland goes on Brexit offensive around Europe

File photo of Irish and European Union flags | Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney is traveling to Paris, London and Bratislava for meetings on Brexit.

The minister also has responsibility for Britain's exit from the EU.

Speaking before leaving for Paris, Minister Coveney said: "This week I have an extensive programme of meetings both here and abroad to continue to build understanding and support for Ireland’s unique concerns on Brexit.

"Now that the negotiations have started, it is vital that the Government continues the strategic engagement with our EU partners in order to advance Ireland’s priorities in the Brexit negotiations, and to work with our partners to ensure that the EU’s and therefore Ireland’s interests are protected.

"Ireland’s future is at the heart of the EU and therefore these discussions are also important for moving ahead on the future of Europe agenda to ensure that the EU continues to deliver peace, security and prosperity for our citizens."

On Wednesday, he will meet with the new French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris.

On Thursday in London he will hold talks with David Davis, the UK's Brexit secretary and the Britain's lead negotiator in the process.

"I will be using this first meeting to set out Ireland’s key concerns and priorities as reflected in the EU’s position and to listen to the position of the UK", Minister Coveney said.

On Friday he will be in Bratislava to meet his counterpart, Miroslav Lajcák.

"I will also take the opportunity to address a conference of Slovak ambassadors on Brexit and the implications for the island of Ireland, including the challenges posed to the peace process."

These meetings follow a visit on Monday July 3rd by the Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini, who visited the border - as well as a visit on Tuesday by Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Executive’s Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs.