Taoiseach reveals Ireland will seek EU funds to counter effects of Brexit

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has suggested that Ireland will directly seek extra funds from the European Union for businesses and areas hit by Brexit, writes Juno McEnroe of the Irish Examiner.

In a key speech in Dublin today, the Taoiseach also said he was confident the EU would not bring Ireland back to the "borders of division" after Brexit is triggered.

Speaking at the Mansion House before the Institute of International and European Affairs, Mr Kenny said a 10-year plan would help protect Ireland.

He said: "As a direct response to Brexit, I have asked the Ministers for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform to prepare an ambitious multi-annual 10-year capital plan that will make Ireland a far better place in which to live and work.

"That plan will make prudent and effective use of our own resources, as well as resources available to Ireland as a member of the European Union.

"We are already in active discussions with the European Investment Bank, which recently opened an office here in Dublin. I am confident those discussions will lead to significant further EIB investments in Ireland.

"That new Plan will show how we will invest in roads, in public transport, in energy, in water, in schools, in higher education and in hospitals and health facilities."

Mr Kenny also declared that Ireland must remain "at the heart of Europe" as the Government prepares to plan for Brexit.

He also admitted that Brexit was a “serious direct threat to Ireland's economic prosperity.”

Setting out part of Ireland's position in advance of Britain triggering its exit from the European Union next month, Mr Kenny said Ireland would need to protect the "hard won peace" on the island.

He said that common values in the European Union were under threat and must be defended.

“That mood of unity in defence of European values and ideals was palpable at the recent summit in Malta.

“I hope and believe that mood of unity, and those European values and ideals, they will continue to guide us in the time ahead.”

He told the audience at the Mansion House in Dublin that Ireland must remain at the heart of Europe.

Mr Kenny said: “Throughout all this, the essential lessons of our history are the same.

"We must remain at the heart of Europe and open to the world. We must protect the hard-won peace on our island, and We must pursue thoughtful, prudent but ambitious economic policies."

The Government’s plan for Brexit combined these three essential elements, the audience were told.

Key challenges lay ahead, he said, adding: “So, for Ireland to succeed and prosper, we must remain at the heart of Europe and we must preserve the hard-won peace on our Ireland. The final, and enormous, challenge is to protect and grow our economy.

“Brexit is a serious, direct threat to Ireland’s economic prosperity. The potential impacts are profound, right across the economy. Key sectors, such as agri-food and fishing, face particular risks and challenges.

"These sectors are among Ireland’s priorities as the agri-food sector has traditionally been reliant on the UK export market, while fishing depends enormously on access to the waters around Britain.”

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