Paschal Donohoe invites British chancellor to Dublin for Brexit talks

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has invited British Chancellor Philip Hammond to Dublin in the autumn to further discuss the impact of Brexit on the two economies.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner minutes after the two men met in number 11 Downing St, Mr Donohoe said he made it clear that the Irish Government will not allow the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland.

“I was emphasising the political principles of avoiding a hard border, we are very clear we cannot allow the return of a hard border. He worked in Ireland, he knows the consequences of that,” Mr Donohoe said.

Meeting formally for the first time since Mr Donohoe took over the reins at the Department of Finance from Michael Noonan, the discussions with Mr Hammond lasted for just over an hour.

“It was a very positive meeting. The three areas I talked with him about were the importance in making sure we do not have a hard border on the island of Ireland and the consequences of all that for communities for both governments,” Mr Donohoe said.

The Irish Government is keen that strong transition arrangements are secured to ensure certainty for Irish consumers and Mr Donohoe said he made that clear to the chancellor.

“We emphasised the importance of transitional agreements in terms of how the negotiations could evolve between the EU and the UK, because Irish businesses and consumers are going to need stability regarding how they operate their trading relationship with the UK,” he said.

“And we each agreed that the two economies are highly integrated and because of that it is in the best interests that we can come up with a trading relationship that is as similar as possible to what we have at the moment,” he added.

Mr Donohoe confirmed his intention to host a return visit for Mr Hammond in Dublin after the summer.

“The meeting was about directly re-communicating to him points which continue to be important to us. I have invited him over to Dublin after the summer,” he said.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Hammond said the meeting with Mr Donohoe was “productive” in which they discussed Brexit and the ever improving UK-Irish relationship.

The chancellor posted a picture of the two men on his Twitter account standing outside No 11 Downing St.

Mr Donohoe is to continue a series of meetings with leading European politicians in the coming weeks to highlight Irish concerns over Brexit.

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