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NI relations ‘require careful consideration’ - Taoiseach

Taoiseach Enda Kenny addresses the media. Photo: Merrion Street

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he is “very sorry” that the UK has voted to leave the EU, adding that “the implications for Northern Ireland and relations will require careful consideration”.

Mr Kenny addressed the media in the wake of the Brexit result, stating that continued EU membership was in Ireland’s national interest.

But he stressed that the “strong and close relationship” with the UK would continue.

The British people have spoken clearly and we fully respect their position and decision.

– Taoiseach Enda Kenny

While the Dáil will be recalled on Monday, the Taoiseach will be meeting members of the Northern Ireland Executive at the North/South Ministerial Council a week later.

“We will have detailed discussions on how to best approach these new circumstances - acting in the best interests of all of the people of Ireland, North and South,” he said.

Mr Kenny added: “In the medium term, a related concern is that of the Common Travel Area between Britain and Ireland.

“For our part, the Irish Government will do our utmost in upcoming discussions to maintain the Common Travel Area and minimise any possible disruptions to the flow of people, goods and services between these islands.”

According to the Taoiseach, the implications regarding Northern Ireland will be a “particular priority” for the Irish government.

“We will approach these issues in the same spirit of partnership that has underpinned the peace process and has transformed relationships on this island since the Good Friday Agreement,” he said.

“I welcome the Prime Minister’s clear statement that Northern Ireland’s interests will be fully reflected in the British Government’s negotiating position.”

Aidan Kelly reports from Dublin ahead of the Dáil being recalled on Monday to discuss the way forward.

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