Government will 'take messages of Brexit forum' to Brussels and London

Earlier the Taoiseach warned that Brexit negotiations 'may well get quite vicious'

Government will 'take messages of Brexit forum' to Brussels and London

Image: RollingNews.ie

The Foreign Affairs Minister says the Government will present the messages of today's all island forum on Brexit to in Brussels and London.

Charlie Flanagan says he is 'encouraged' by today's dialogue - which saw over 300 political, business and civic representatives share their concerns about the impact on trade and fears of a return to a hard border.

Minister Flanagan said a second forum will take place next year - and today's dialogue will have an impact.

He added that Ireland will "again and again" put "our case" to EU and British leaders.

Earlier, the Taoiseach warned that Ireland could damage its relationship with Britain by ‘outstaying its welcome’ in Brexit talks.

Enda Kenny made the remarks at the All Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit - and said there is no stopping the British Prime Minister from triggering Article 50 before the March deadline.

Theresa May has indicated her Government will enact article 50 before the end of March 2017.

The Taoiseach also suggested Britain’s exit from the EU could turn ‘vicious’, suggesting some EU members have taken a "very poor view" of Britain's decision to leave.

The event - which was held at Dublin’s Royal Hospital - has been described as a ‘grandstanding exercise’ for ‘moaners’ by the North’s First Minister Arlene Foster.

Enda Kenny said he is working closely with representatives of the Northern Executive and the British Government - and stressed we need to be ready for Article 50 when it’s triggered.

Earlier, Sinn Féin Gerry Adams said that the forum had to focus on alternatives beyond Brexit.

Mr Adams said the forum “should not be about a hard Brexit or a soft Brexit.  It needs to be about moving beyond the consequences of Brexit and looking at alternatives.”

Enda Kenny said that the retention of an open border with the North after Brexit is critical, adding there will be "no return to the borders of the past".

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, launches the Brexit All-Ireland Civic Dialogue in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Image: RollingNews.ie

Fears for border counties were outlined by Adams and Fine Gael TD for Louth Fergus O'Dowd. 

"It is hugely important that the unique position of the Border counties is highlighted at the All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit," Mr O'Dowd said today.

Unionist parties are refusing to attend discussions, with DUP leader Arlene Foster referring to the forum as a "talk shop".

Speaking to RTÉ, she believes the Taoiseach is under a lot of pressure from other parties in the south and the gathering will involve grandstanding, a lot of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, but it will not lead to anything constructive.

However, Mrs Foster says she is committed to working with the Irish Government, through the North South Ministerial Council, and in direct talks with the Taoiseach on issues of common interest in the Brexit negotiations.

Meanwhile, former British chancellor Lord Darling has warned the UK is in "a lull" before an economic storm as a result of Brexit.

He says the falling value of the Sterling and decisions taken by businesses in the wake of the country's Brexit vote will be felt in a year.