Belfast Telegraph

‘Old friends’ Scotland and Ireland to hold bilateral review

The two governments will look at areas where they already work together as well as trying to find areas for future collaboration.

Fiona Hyslop described Ireland as one of Scotland’s ‘oldest friends’ (Mike Bolam/Historic Environment/PA)
Fiona Hyslop described Ireland as one of Scotland’s ‘oldest friends’ (Mike Bolam/Historic Environment/PA)

By Katrine Bussey, PA Scotland Political Editor

A review is taking place into how Scotland can work with one of its “oldest friends” – Ireland.

The Scottish and Irish governments have launched a bilateral review, which will look at areas where they already work together as well as trying to find areas for future collaboration.

Key fields such as trade, research and culture will be included, as well as initiatives such as the Irish-Scottish Health Forum.

Scottish External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop and Irish Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney announced the joint initiative – which is the first review undertaken together by the two countries.

“In this era of global uncertainty it is more important than ever that we seek to strengthen our relations even further, allowing us to improve in areas where we already work together and identify new opportunities for collaboration External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop

It will be led by the Consul General of Ireland in Edinburgh and the Scottish Government Hub office in Dublin, with a report to be published in the spring of next year, setting out a series of shared goals for the five years up to 2025.

Ms Hyslop said: “Ireland is one of Scotland’s oldest friends, linked by history, geography and culture.

“In this era of global uncertainty it is more important than ever that we seek to strengthen our relations even further, allowing us to improve in areas where we already work together and identify new opportunities for collaboration.”

Mr Coveney said: “The age-old Ireland-Scotland relationship has developed and deepened over the last two decades – facilitated by devolution in the UK; the Good Friday Agreement and the establishment of the British-Irish Council; and the opening of our Consulate in Edinburgh.

“I am ambitious for the relationship, and want to build on existing excellent co-operation, and identify new shared policy areas where we can learn from each other, and collaborate for the benefit of our citizens.

“I urge all who care about the Ireland-Scotland relationship to engage fully with this review, which will bring new focus and energy to the collaboration between our governments in the years to come.”

PA

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