First bilateral talks over Brexit plans

Ministers were left disappointed by their British counterparts yesterday after no formal timetable was revealed during the first bilateral talks on Brexit.

First bilateral talks over Brexit plans

Both Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald were quick to emphasise they were not given a precise date upon which Brexit would be triggered or a timetable about the process.

Mr Flanagan said the sides met at Dublin’s Iveagh House and spoke about the common travel area, the border, and technology for security co-operation.

Ms Fitzgerald said Brexit secretary David Davis did not give any specific timetable in relation to triggering Article 50.

She said she had emphasised that in a post-Brexit environment, there could be no exploitation by criminals.

She denied Ireland was being “left in the dark” by not getting a timetable about when Britain will formally trigger its exit from the EU.

Ms Fitzgerald said: “There is a huge amount of work to be done teasing out the implications of Brexit for the UK itself and that’s what we are doing here as well.”

Meanwhile, speaking at a British-Irish Chamber of Commerce dinner last night, Taoiseach Enda Kenny signalled that Brexit may impact on the amount of money available for next month’s budget.

He said: “Given the potential significance of Brexit for the Irish economy and business community, I have asked [Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Pascal Donohoe] to ensure that the budget is Brexit-proofed and to set out a national economic response.

“In the weeks ahead there will be intense political and parliamentary debate about the best use of the limited resources.

“Not all good suggestions will be affordable in the next 12 months but with continued economic recovery we will, in turn, be able to continue to deliver for hard pressed families.”

Discussing Brexit, Mr Kenny said: “Until the UK has indicated what kind of relationship it will seek with the EU, it is impossible to predict possible outcomes. In advance of this, the Government will be as prepared as possible for the negotiations ahead.”

Mr Kenny yesterday chaired the first meeting of the newly established cabinet committee on Brexit that will oversee the overall Government response, including both the economic impact and the negotiations at EU level with the administrations in London and Belfast.

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