Kenny sad to lose UK as ally in Europe

The Taoiseach told an audience of American investors that Brexit is "bad for Britain, for Ireland and for Europe”

Kenny sad to lose UK as ally in Europe

Taoiseach Enda Kenny addresses a luncheon at the American Institute for Peace in Washington, 15-03-2017. Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

The Taoiseach has told an audience of American investors in Washington that Brexit is “bad for Britain, for Ireland and for Europe.”

Enda Kenny was addressing an Economic Promotion Lunch at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington today.

Mr Kenny admitted for the first time that Ireland will miss having Britain as an ally in the EU – but he insisted that the country will maximise any opportunities arising from Brexit.

He said Ireland remains committed to the European Union adding that the country can act as an “important bridge between the US and the EU.”

“We will be absolutely thorough in protecting and advancing our interests by seeking the best possible outcome from the forthcoming Brexit negotiations,” he said.

“In this regard, we are absolutely determined to protect the Northern Ireland Peace Process, to minimise any negative economic impact, to maintain our Common Travel Area with Britain and to promote a stronger, more effective European Union in the years ahead.”

He said the government will aim to promote the strengths that make Ireland attractive for foreign direct investment (FDI) and will compete strongly for UK business seeking to relocate in the aftermath of Brexit.

“Post Brexit, Ireland will be the only English-speaking country in the EU, at the heart of the Single Market with unfettered access for companies, and in the Eurozone,” he said. “Our people are well-educated and are passionate about business, progress and creativity.”

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Me Kenny also came out strongly in favour of the potential Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the EU.

Negotiations on the highly controversial agreement have stalled following US President Donald Trump’s election to office.

On this side of the Atlantic, many campaigners have highlighted the fact that the deal would allow multi-national companies to challenge Irish and European laws and regulations in court.

There are also real concerns about the impact the deal could have on food standards, public services and financial regulation. 

Mr Kenny said the government “steadfastly supports an open, rules-based international trading system which promotes and delivers open, free and fair trade.”

“The more Ireland trades with the world the more prosperous our society becomes," he said. 

“We have seen this very concretely over the last half century, as we opened the Irish economy and in the process transformed our country for the better.” 

He said he is determined to work with the Trump administration in an effort to see the deal pushed through.

“We continue to believe that a comprehensive bilateral trade and investment deal between the EU and US would benefit both economies and most importantly, the workers and consumers of both blocs,” he said.

Mr Kenny is due to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House tomorrow afternoon.