“Closer Wales-Ireland relations crucial for our economic futures” – Eluned Morgan

13 Jun 2019 12:04 PM

Ireland is Wales’ closest and most important European partner – and the Welsh Government is determined to build closer relations with its nearest European neighbour, whether or not Brexit happens, Minister for International Relations Eluned Morgan will say today.

Ahead of a visit to Ireland, the Minister will say that the UK leaving the EU without a deal would be hugely damaging to Wales’ trade with Ireland, which is why it cannot be allowed to happen.

During her visit, the minister will meet Simon Coveney, the Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, to reiterate the Welsh Government’s opposition to a no-deal Brexit. 

Wales’ vital economic links with Ireland are significant for economies on both sides of the Irish Sea:

The Welsh Government has had an office in Dublin since 2012, and the Irish Government has recently reopened its Consulate in Cardiff, reaffirming the strong relations between Wales and Ireland.

Speaking ahead of her visit, Eluned Morgan said:

The relationship with Ireland is extremely important to Wales. The republic is our closest European neighbour, and one of our most important economic partners. As a Welsh Government, we are determined to forge far greater ties with Ireland in the months and years ahead.

That’s because people’s jobs and livelihoods depend on us maintaining strong and frictionless trading relationships with countries on our doorstep. Wales depends on Europe more for our trade than the UK as a whole, and Ireland has consistently remained in our top 5 export markets - currently Wales’s 4th largest export market. Our economic future relies on us maintaining strong and vital relationships with our neighbours.

A catastrophic no deal Brexit is very real. With a new prime minister, we are likely to face a straight choice between a no deal Brexit, or remaining in the EU. That’s why the Welsh Government will campaign to remain in the EU and believe that Parliament must legislate as soon as possible for a referendum to decide on this question.

In recent decades, Wales’ and the wider UK’s relationship with Ireland has been transformed. Brexit cannot put this in peril.

So the message I’ll be taking to the very top of the Irish Government today is that Wales and Ireland must continue working together to ensure nothing happens that will harm our futures.

During her visit, the minister will: