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Charlie Flanagan really doesn't want the United Kingdom to leave the EU

“The Government’s fundamental position on this is unequivocal.”

British Royal Visits to Ireland Source: Brian O'Leary/Photocall Ireland

THE MINISTER FOR Foreign Affairs has stressed directly to his UK counterpart Ireland’s desire for the country to remain in the European Union.

At a speech last month in London, Charlie Flanagan said “there is too much at stake to remain on the sidelines” ahead of the proposed referendum on membership.

In response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil’s Brendan Smith, Flanagan has now revealed details of a meeting with the British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond during his visit to Dublin on 16 December.

“We discussed a number of issues, including the matter of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union,” Flanagan said.

The Government’s fundamental position on this is unequivocal: we want the United Kingdom to remain a full, integral member of the EU.

Flanagan said Ireland’s relationship with the United Kingdom ‘benefited significantly to date from our joint membership of the EU’.

“My meeting with Foreign Secretary Hammond provided a valuable opportunity to set out our views and to discuss these issues in more detail,” he said.

Flanagan also highlighted areas of similar interest between the UK and Ireland, such as trade and completion of the single market.

Cabinet Meetings Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Prime Minister David Cameron has already promised a referendum on Britain’s EU membership if his party wins next year’s general election and has taken a harder stance on immigration in a bid to reassure wavering voters.

The opposition Labour Party has been forced to do the same as polls show rising pro-UKIP sentiment among disgruntled former supporters.

The vast majority of opinion polls have suggested that the UK public will vote to remain in the Union under renegotiated membership.

Additional reporting © – AFP 2014

Read: The secret note that revealed how much Margaret Thatcher trusted Garret Fitzgerald >

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Nicky Ryan

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