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Minister Flanagan launching 2016 Commemoration Programme of UK Events in London

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., travels to Cambridge and London early this morning for a one-day programme of high-level political contacts, trade and cultural promotion.

In Ireland’s Embassy in the heart of London, Minister Flanagan will launch the programme of British-based commemorative events and engagements for 2016. Part of the ambitious Global and Diaspora programme for Ireland 2016, the programme is being organised by the Embassy of Ireland in London, Culture Ireland and the Irish Consulate General in Edinburgh.

Ahead of the launch, Minister Flanagan said:

“The Global and Diaspora strand is a crucial part of the of our 2016 programme. I look forward to launching the ambitious plans for events in the UK which will include at least 87 events taking place in venues all across Britain. These events will provide an opportunity to remember, reconcile, reflect and celebrate our diverse and shared history and traditions.”

At Magdalane College in Cambridge, the Minister will address a high-level symposium on Yeats as part of events in Britain for Yeats 2015 supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The event will involve senior cultural figures and academics, including former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Professor Roy Foster.

In the afternoon, Minister Flanagan will meet with his UK counterpart, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond MP, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. Their meeting will focus on the UK’s relationship with the EU, the migration and refugee situation in Europe and ongoing developments in the Ukraine.

They will also discuss increased co-operation between the Irish and British foreign services, including in the promotion of trade between Ireland and Britain. Also at the Foreign Office, both will address members of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, an important body representing the employers of 55,000 people across Britain and Ireland, with over €33 billion in business interests.

Ahead of his engagements at the Foreign Office, the Minister said:

“Foreign Secretary Hammond and I have established a regular pattern of useful exchanges on key issues during these challenging times for Europe and the world. On the UK-EU issue, while much detail remains to be worked out, Ireland intends to be as constructive and helpful as possible in EU efforts now underway. I want to see solutions which will help persuade the UK electorate to vote to remain in the European Union and I look forward to my discussion with Foreign Secretary Hammond”.

He added:

“I am particularly delighted that the Foreign Secretary and I can join together to help promote the work of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce. The work of the Chamber and its members contribute enormously to the strong performance of our economies and to our €1 billion a week bilateral trading relationship, which I want to see grow further as part of the Government’s ambitious jobs and growth agenda.”

Minister Flanagan will also discuss Northern Ireland and the Fresh Start Agreement agreed in Belfast, which he co-facilitated along with Secretary of State Theresa Villiers MP. As well as Foreign Secretary Hammond, he will meet with the UK Labour Party’s Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Vernon Coaker MP.