Kenny’s all-Ireland Brexit forum rebuffed by Foster

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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Enda Kenny’s proposed all-Ireland forum to mitigate Brexit fallout has met with a frosty reception from Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster.

Foster has said that such a forum is unnecessary. She was in Dublin this Monday with members of the Northern Executive to attend a meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council (NSMC). The council discusses areas of common interest between the Republic and Northern Ireland. It also promotes co-operation between the two governments.

However, despite strong support from Kenny and his ministers, the proposed Brexit forum was not the under discussion. Foster reportedly rejected the idea and was unwilling to talk about it further.

Foster told a press conference that there were “more than enough” bodies through which Dublin and Belfast could co-operate. She added that this made Kenny’s proposed forum unnecessary.

“I don’t think there’s any mechanisms needed because we can lift the phone to each other, ” she said. “We may not agree on small things like mechanisms – we do agree on the need to work together to make the best for our people, ” the First Minister said.

Foster also claimed that the Irish government had not suggested the forum to her.

“With respect to the forum that seemed to gather steam over the weekend, it wasn’t discussed with me over the weekend, or indeed before, and it wasn’t discussed at the NSMC today, ” she said.

Kenny leaves forum invitation open

In contrast, Kenny claimed NI officials had rebuffed the idea. He said that if Northern Ireland’s government expressed interest, the idea could be revisited.

NI’s Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin is in favour of the forum. McGuinness called it “a good suggestion” and said it could proceed without the input of the DUP.

“I don’t think there should be a veto, ” he said.

However both governments were keen to emphasise that co-operation would continue. Both stated that they would work together to find measures to ameliorate the negative effect of Brexit.


Anne Sexton

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