Ireland seeks to boost its ‘global footprint’

Moves to double Ireland’s global footprint and strengthen alliances will be announced today in an effort to better protect the country in a post-Brexit European Union.

The launch comes as crucial talks continue this week to try and solve the latest impasse over Brexit, with just two weeks before a key June summit of EU leaders.

Britain’s white paper on Brexit will now not be published before the summit. There has been a cautious response to a proposal to allow Britain remain in the customs union temporarily to prevent a hard border in the North.

In addition, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson’s quip that concerns around the border issue are akin to “millennium bug stuff” has also triggered public anger.

Despite the further deadlock, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said at the weekend that he believed a final deal on Britain’s divorce from the EU could be reached by the later summit in October.

Rather than stalling talks, negotiations should be intensified in the period ahead, he said.

“We are united as a block of 27 member states who all fully support the text that we produced in March both in relation to the withdrawal agreement and the Irish protocol which guarantees that there won’t be a hard border on our island, not now and not ever.”

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will today meet British Brexit secretary David Davis. But the EU is flagging a few weeks of tough talks. Brussels insists that no acceptable deal on a backstop will see no transition period for Britain.

Meanwhile, plans to double Ireland’s global footprint by 2025 will be launched by the Taoiseach and Tánaiste today.

Global Ireland 2025 will expand Ireland’s international presence overseas in diplomacy, culture, business, overseas aid and trade. This will include expanding consulates and embassies and the role and presence of key agencies such as the IDA and Enterprise Ireland.

The Government is expected to suggest that the expansion will better position Ireland to protect its interests and defend its positions in a post-Brexit EU.

Mr Varadkar will say at the launch: “The global trading environment is experiencing a period of turbulence and volatility. And closer to home, our nearest neighbour and largest trading partner is preparing to leave the European Union. he challenges we face demand comprehensive multilateral responses.”

Elsewhere, Minster for Children Katherine Zappone will meet advocacy groups and Oireachtas members to try and progress legislation that will allow adopted people as well as those given incorrect birth registration a statutory right to birth certificate details. Ms Zappone insists she wants to progress the legislation but there are issues to resolve still including complex questions around privacy as well as any possible compelling reasons why birth mother details may not be released.

The minister will also bring groups up to date on the issue of incorrect birth registrations. She said: “I would like to assure everyone that the Bill remains a priority for me. The bill seeks to respect the rights to identity and privacy, which sometimes conflict with one another. Given the constitutional context, striking the balance between these rights is proving challenging.”


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