Minister Breen describes meeting with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland as positive, and highlights the need for political stability in Ireland ahead of Brexit.

February 14th, 2017 - Pat Breen

n12Minister for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen described as positive his meeting with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, in Dublin on Monday night.

The Clare minister of state met in private with the Northern Ireland Secretary on Monday evening during which time they discussed Brexit and its potential impact on cross border trade.

“Brexit was top of the agenda as we spoke about the need to minimise the effect on trade between Ireland and the UK, how to protect the economy of the border counties post Brexit, and how to safeguard the Small and Medium Enterprises here in Ireland,” said Minister Breen.

“Brexit is happening in the back drop to the elections in Northern Ireland and it is vital that we protect the peace process, while also protecting the economy of the whole island of Ireland during these changing times,” he said.

“Secretary Brokenshire was very positive about north-south-relations and is more than conscious of the fact that the cross border market is worth approximately €6 billion in manufactured goods and services,” added the Clare minister of state.

“The British Government also wants to ensure trade continues between Ireland and the UK because, after all, about €2 billion euro worth of trade takes place every week between Ireland and the UK,” he said.

Minister Breen recognises however that there are going to be very challenging times ahead, but maintains the Government is ready for such challenges.

“Outside of our with the UK, Ministers in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister Halligan and I are also preparing to meet our counterparts in other Member States. We will be travelling to European capitals to outline the special relationship that exits between the UK and Ireland, and highlighting the complexities of the Northern Ireland peace process,” he explained.

“We have to influence our colleagues in the EU, and while we will do that over the next few months, it is important that we have stability here at home.”