Kenny vows to shield Ireland from Brexit fallout, seeks border talks

Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Monday that his government will "take steps to protect economic stability in Ireland" following Britain's vote to leave the EU, adding that the fallout from the vote should not affect Ireland's budget for 2017.

Kenny recalled the Irish parliament to discuss the implications of Brexit Monday amid fears that Ireland's economic recovery could be compromised.

He said "early bilateral discussions" between Dublin and London on Britain's EU exit, or Brexit, will focus on Northern Ireland, the border and the common travel area.

"We will continue to work urgently and intensively with the British government and the Northern Ireland Executive to see how, collectively, we can ensure that the gains of the last two decades are fully protected in whatever post-exit arrangements are negotiated," Kenny said.

There are particular concerns about the potential reintroduction of a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, as controls have been removed gradually since the 1998 peace agreement.

"All three administrations share the common objective of wanting to preserve the common travel area and an open border on the island of Ireland," Kenny said.

Kenny also pointed out there is a two-year timeframe for Britain's withdrawal from the European Union and that there will be no early change to the free flow of people, goods and services.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the initial shock of the Brexit vote had been contained and the National Treasury Management Agency is confident it can fully fund the country.

"The stock market took a bit of a hit, but in the normal rise and fall of stock markets," Noonan told the National Economic Dialogue meeting in Dublin Castle, organized by the government to outline Ireland's economic prospects and also attended by Kenny.

Ireland's exports continue to be strong and "people are going about their business," he said.

In terms of foreign direct investment, Noonan said Britain was now Ireland's "biggest rival" and "direct competitor."

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar told national broadcaster RTE that he did not expect tax receipts in Ireland to plummet suddenly as a result of Brexit and said there were new opportunities for Ireland.

A North-South ministerial council meeting next Monday will discuss issues including retaining the common travel agreement, Varadkar announced.

Under this agreement, which dates from 1923, there is free movement of citizens between Ireland and Britain, with mutual full voting rights.

A majority in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union and there are huge concerns north and south of the border about how Brexit could affect trade and the Northern Ireland peace process.

Under the terms of the Good Friday peace agreement, Northern Ireland's citizens are entitled to apply for both Irish and British passports.

Applications for Irish passports have surged since Thursday's referendum, according to local media reports.

Last update: Mon, 27/06/2016 - 23:18

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