‘Ireland will remain close to the EU and the UK’– Foreign affairs minister

“There will now follow a period of great challenge”

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Minister Charlie Flanagan at a wreath at a state ceremony to remember the British soldiers who died during the Easter Rising | Image: Rollingnews.ie

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has moved to clarify Ireland’s position following the United Kingdom’s vote leave the European Union.

“There will now follow a period of great challenge for the UK, for the EU and for Ireland - but this is a challenge which will be met,” the minister said.

Mr Flanagan said that Ireland will remain closely aligned to both the EU and the UK.

“Ireland will of course remain in the EU and in the Eurozone, while we will also do everything to protect our political, economic and people-to-people links to the UK.”

Minister Flanagan highlighted the situation in Northern Ireland as a key priority following the vote to leave.

“The UK’s exit from the EU will bring changes, but the Irish Government has emphasised all along that the Northern Ireland and all-island dimensions will be an area for priority attention in all post-referendum negotiations processes, including in relation to the status of the border.”

Mr Flanagan also stressed that the UK is not leaving the EU immediately and that all arrangements, rights and facilities linked to EU membership still apply in full.

“A negotiation process will get underway and will take a minimum of two years prior to a UK exit. During that time the UK remains an EU member state and participating in the workings of the Union.”

The minister has initiated a round of contacts with British counterparts and with party leaders in Northern Ireland following the result.

“I also intend 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.”

Meanwhile head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde has urged authorities in the UK and Europe to work collaboratively to ensure a smooth transition.

“We strongly support commitments of the Bank of England and the ECB to supply liquidity to the banking system and curtail excess financial volatility. We will continue to monitor developments closely and stand ready to support our members as needed,” Ms Lagarde said.