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First Minister plans Dublin trip to strengthen ties with Ireland

Published 11/11/2016

Michael D Higgins and Nicola Sturgeon will meet once more when the First Minister travels to Dublin
Michael D Higgins and Nicola Sturgeon will meet once more when the First Minister travels to Dublin

Nicola Sturgeon will meet politicians and business leaders in Dublin later this month in an effort to strengthen Scotland's relationship with Ireland.

The First Minister will host meetings with Irish President Michael D Higgins and minister for foreign affairs and trade Charlie Flanagan as well as meeting about 100 business representatives.

She will also become the first serving head of government to address the Seanad, the upper house of the Irish parliament, during the visit.

Ms Sturgeon said she looked forward to speaking about the Scottish Government's plans to protect Scotland's interests in the European Union (EU) following the vote for the UK to leave the bloc.

The announcement follows a report that the Irish Government had rejected direct talks with Ms Sturgeon over the plans.

The First Minister has said she will seek discussions with EU institutions and other EU member states to "explore all possible options to protect Scotland's place in the EU".

The Herald newspaper said Irish m inister for the diaspora and international development Joe McHugh had confirmed formal Brexit talks would take place only with the UK Government.

Speaking in advance of her visit, Ms Sturgeon said: "Scotland and Ireland have a shared history and a long tradition of co-operation on a range of issues.

"In the post-Brexit landscape, it has become even more important that we work together to protect our shared interests.

"Last year we established an innovation and investment hub in Dublin to strengthen our relationship with Ireland and promote inward investment.

"I am proud and humbled to have been invited to address the Seanad and recognise what an honour this is.

"I am looking forward to the opportunity to speak to senators about my hopes for continued work between our two nations and my plans to protect Scotland's interests in the EU."

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