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Ireland and Scotland publish questionnaire to examine the diverse, lesser-known parts of their ties

Scotland has a very developed island diaspora, which the Irish government is looking to learn from.

Fans gathering for the 2019 Rugby World Cup match between Ireland and Scotland in Yokohama City.
Fans gathering for the 2019 Rugby World Cup match between Ireland and Scotland in Yokohama City.
Image: PA Images

THE IRISH AND Scottish governments are looking at the links that exist between the two countries for the first time in order to develop and enhance them.

Although some consultations have already taken place with major Irish-Scottish groups, the Scottish and Irish governments want to look at any and all informal or local links that also may exist between the countries in order to sustain them into the future. 

The aim of the questionnaire, which can be found here, is also to update the two countries’ views of the links as they are now: a Department spokesperson said “we want the questionnaire to bring in as many diverse voices and ideas as possible, to help us shape our engagement with Scotland”.

Contributions are welcome from those living in Ireland or Scotland, as well as those with an interest in the relationship between the two countries.

Among the questions being asked in the survey are:

  • What are the factors which encourage or inhibit investment by Irish businesses in the Scottish market, and vice versa?
  • How can Ireland and Scotland cooperate more effectively in the promotion and preservation of aspects of our shared cultural traditions?
  • Is there scope for joint work on the promotion of contemporary Irish and Scottish culture in the context of events such as the Edinburgh Festivals and Galway2020?

The review focuses on areas where the Scottish government has devolved
competency, and is split into five main parts: business and economy; community and
diaspora; academic and research links; culture; and rural, coastal, and island

Scotland has a well developed island community, which the Irish government is looking to learn from, while the academic research links are believed to be quite developed. The Irish-Scottish Health Forum is seen as a good example of cooperation between the two countries. 

The publication of the questionnaire today comes after a visit by the Tániaste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to Edinburgh to visit the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon. 

In a joint-opinion piece with Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, Coveney wrote: “Scotland and Ireland have long been neighbours and friends, from our historic Celtic roots to contemporary links in business, education, culture and beyond”.

We are closely linked by Sruth na Maoile, the short Straits of Moyle which connect these islands.

“It is easy to take relationships for granted. This review will begin the assessment of how things stand – what we do together as governments, as trading nations, as research bodies, as cultural institutions, as communities.”

The questionnaire is the result of a close relationship between Irish and Scottish authorities built on the British-Irish Council, and through structures of the Good Friday Agreement 1998.

Speaking about the questionnaire, a Department spokesperson said: “Coming twenty-one years after devolution, now is a time for both governments to work together to revitalise and intensify the bilateral relationship.

“This review will provide a blueprint for this engagement over the next five years. Our hope is that it can capture and deliver on the ambitions of our people for the Ireland-Scotland relationship.”

To make a submission, you can complete the questionnaire found here before 20 March 2020; any questions can be sent to enquiries@scotlandirelandreview.org.

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