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Politicians across Ireland need to establish Brexit priorities, says Taoiseach

Published 03/11/2016

Taoiseach Enda Kenny in conversation with Mairead McGuinness MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, at the All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny in conversation with Mairead McGuinness MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, at the All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin.

Politicians across Ireland need to maintain focus on establishing the island's priorities in the Brexit process despite the High Court decision in London, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has insisted.

The premier said the ruling had challenged previous assumptions that his UK counterpart Theresa May was able to trigger an exit from the EU in her own right.

"Now clearly the British government have to make a decision as to whether to refer now to the parliament or whether to appeal that case and that's a matter for them," he said.

"Irrespective of the decision that they make there we have to concentrate on what our priorities are and work together in the interests of the common benefits of the economies of the people north and south."

Mr Kenny was in Belfast to meet political leaders to discuss the on-going fall-out from Brexit. His visit to Stormont came a day after he hosted an all-island forum in Dublin that saw politicians, business leaders and other members of civic society discuss the ramifications of the UK leaving the EU.

The Fine Gael leader said his focus was on identifying the priorities for the island in the Brexit negotiations.

"Time is short here, we don't have any time to waste," he said.

"What we are looking for is cooperation with everybody so we know exactly what it is the priorities we should be following here in order to get the very best result for the people of the north and the people of the island of Ireland as a whole."

Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster, a Brexiteer, stayed away from the forum event in Dublin, claiming it would be full of "grandstanding remoaners".

The Democratic Unionist leader also used a weekend speech to her party conference to accuse Irish government representatives of trying to play up uncertainty around Brexit to "poach" would-be investors from Northern Ireland.

Mr Kenny declined to be drawn on her comments as he arrived at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

"I am not in the business of having any rows created with first minister Foster and this is much too important in the context of the island of Ireland," he said.

The first minister was not among the leaders the Taoiseach met at Stormont due to her having other diary commitments

Mr Kenny said the pair had a "good working relationship" and said they would be holding a meeting in Dublin on November 15.

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