Ireland will have special status during Brexit talks

Enda Kenny says he will also raise issues in the US

Ireland will have special status during Brexit talks

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and President of European Parliament Antonio Tajani | Image: Shona Murray

Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed that Ireland will have a ‘special status’ during the EU’s forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

Mr Kenny was meeting with senior European Union figures in Brussels today, where he pushed for ‘close engagement’ between Ireland and the EU’s Brexit taskforce - both ahead of and during Article 50 negotiations that will see the UK leave the union.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is due to formally announce the UK’s intention to withdraw before the end of March.

She suffered a slight setback at the UK’s upper house this week, when the House of Lords voted for an amendment which now requires Mrs May to publish plans on the fate of EU citizens living in the UK post-Brexit.

Enda Kenny told Newstalk following his meeting with Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, that Ireland has a “special status” in Brexit negotiations - “a special set of circumstances”, he added.

Economic and political stability in Ireland are under threat as a result of Brexit.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny meets with President of the European Council Donald Tusk | Image via @merrionstreet on Twitter

Ireland and Britain’s trade relations are worth over €1bn per week.

If the UK leaves the single market, it will likely trigger a serious problem for Irish exports.

While the status of Northern Ireland and a possibility of a border poll on Irish reunification has now emerged since the UK decided to leave the EU. 

The problems facing Europe as a result of Brexit, as well as external forces such as Russian interference with European elections, and an apparent shift in EU-US relations are also cause for concern for European leaders.

Mr Kenny said he would speak to the US administration and US Congress about Europe during his St Patrick's Day visit to Washington.

“When I go to America and I speak with President Trump, vice-President Pence and Speaker Ryan it is important the American Congress should have discussions and have the opportunity to talk things through with the European Union.”

“We are facing a huge political challenge, but we want an orderly discussion with Britain”, he said.