Government announce 'process of intensified engagement' agreed with Scotland over Rockall dispute

The Irish government has announced a process of intensified engagement overthe Roackal fisheries dispute has been agreed with the Scottish government.

In a statement tonight the government revealed dialogue regarding Rockall is continuing between the Irish and Scottish Governments and that a new round of 'intensified engagement' will now be led by senior officials from both administrations.

"There have been close contacts at official level over recent days. It has now been agreed that a process of intensified engagement will take place, led by senior officials from both administrations.

"The Irish Government has consistently said this matter should be dealt with through diplomacy and agreement. We are hopeful that on this basis the latest difficulties can be de-escalated."

Speaking earlier today Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he wanted to see a resolution to the dispute.

"I think it's fair to say that both administrations would like to see this matter de-escalated," said Mr Varadkar.

Speaking in Cork yesterday, Tánaiste Simon Coveney called for calm amid the dispute and stated his interest in resolving the issue.

"We need to take the heat out of this decision and look for solutions, that’s what diplomacy is about," said Mr Coveney.

"Scotland and Ireland are very close friends and we will work with them to try to bring an end to this but what we won't do is change a policy which we have had in place for decades on the back of a threat."

Earlier today, an MSP called for Scotland to “reject complicity in Britain’s last act of colonialism” and renounce any claims over the island of Rockall.

The islet, an uninhabited outcrop in the North Atlantic, has been at the centre of a dispute between Scotland and Ireland over fishing.

The Scottish Government had threatened to take action if Irish vessels continue to operate in the zone around Rockall, which the UK has claimed sovereignty over since 1955.

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