Minister Flanagan calls for active Irish community engagement in EU referendum debate08 April 2016
Minister meets UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and more than 35 Irish community groups
Visiting London today, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, appealed to leaders from more than 35 Irish community and business groups to engage fully in the referendum debate on the UK’s membership of the EU.
During his day-long programme of political contacts and meetings, Minister Flanagan encouraged Irish-linked organisations to inform and involve their members. Addressing a group of community leaders this morning at the Irish Embassy in London, the Minister said:
“Irish citizens resident in the UK are eligible to vote in this referendum and I would encourage you to help with efforts to promote debate and participation in this most important decision – through meetings, events, newsletters, word of mouth, whatever works best for you”.
At midday, the Minister met with his UK opposite number, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond M.P., at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. As well as discussing a selection of current foreign policy issues, the Minister and the Foreign Secretary discussed the referendum, with Minister Flanagan reiterating Ireland’s clear view in support of Prime Minister Cameron’s and the Foreign Secretary’s wish for the UK to remain in the EU.
Following the meeting, Minister Flanagan said:
“Today’s was a very useful exchange. The Irish government was active in helping to secure a settlement on the UK’s EU membership at the February European Council. EU membership has been good for our relations with the UK and we would like our 43-year partnership as EU members to continue into the future”.
The Minister’s programme also included contacts with the opposition Labour Party, while his programme concludes this evening with a special event to mark the success of the Irish International Business Network (IIBN) Future Leaders Programme. In his remarks to programme participants, Minister Flanagan will say:
“I have been keen to inform representatives of our community in Britain of the importance the Government attaches to our continued partnership with the UK within the EU.
Those of you in this room are already influential voices or future influential voices in this country. Your talents and achievements mark you out and I have no doubt I am looking around a room of effective debaters and advocates. I am urging you to engage positively in the debate now underway here in the UK”.
5 April 2016
Note for Editors
• According to 2011 Census for England and Wales and 2011 Census for Scotland, there are 430,000 Irish-born people resident in Britain (407,000 in England and Wales; 23,000 in Scotland) Data sourced from:http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_310441.pdf andhttp://www.scotlandscensus.gov.uk/ethnicity-identity-language-and-religion
• Ireland and the UK trade intensively with each other within the European single market (€62+ billion in two-way trade in goods and services last year).