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The Government is "intensifying" its plans for preparing for Brexit

It plans to hold an all-island forum in November.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS announced the date for the first meeting of the all-island civic dialogue on Brexit.

It’s part of its plans for dealing with the British exit from the European Union, which it detailed in a statement today.

In the statement, the government said it is intensifying its preparations for Brexit. The news comes  following the UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement at the weekend that she would trigger Article 50 to start EU withdrawal before March 2017.

All-island meeting

The meeting will be hosted by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan on 2 November in Dublin.

Invitations will be extended to a broad range of civic society groups, trade unions, business groups and non-governmental organisations as well as representatives of the main political parties, both north and south.

TheJournal.ie understands that Kenny will invite Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster to the all-Ireland Brexit forum despite her shooting down the idea in June.

Kenny first floated the idea of an all-island forum after Britain voted to leave the European Union that same month.

However, on a visit to Dublin, the DUP leader pointedly told the media that such a cross-border forum would not be happening.

But the Taoiseach pressed on with his plans and announced on the first day of the new Dáil term last week that the forum would be taking place.

The conference programme will assess the implications of Brexit across the main areas of concern for Ireland, including:

  • The economy and trade
  • The Peace Process
  • The common travel area and the border
  • The future of the EU

“The format would be highly interactive with each area being initially framed in terms of the key challenges, after which a discussion will take place to tease out the issue further,” said the government statement.

Preparations

The Cabinet also discussed today the preparations for the negotiations that will have to take place.

In the coming weeks, preparations will be ramped up, with closer political and official engagement with Northern Ireland, the British Government, and the EU Member States and institutions.

Following the government meeting today, the Taoiseach reaffirmed that Ireland’s priorities were the economy and trade, the peace process and Northern Ireland, the Common Travel Area and the future of the EU itself.

“Now that we have clarity from Prime Minister May regarding the timetable, we will intensify our engagement and preparation for the negotiations. Ireland faces unique challenges from Brexit, not least given the all-island issues that arise,” he said.

Kenny said he will continue to engage with Northern Ireland party leaders on the range of issues involved.

He said the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) Summit in Armagh in November will  be “hugely significant” in completing a Brexit audit of North/South programmes. How to best protect the peace process and North-South interests in the upcoming negotiations will also be on the agenda.

Budget

Other than the all-island dialogue, the government said next week’s Budget will include measures that will support the overall economic response to Brexit.

Despite criticisms from opposition parties that the government was ill-prepared for a Brexit result, the government said there has been a “contingency plan” in place for over a year.

The government maintains it has been proactive in highighting Ireland’s Brexit concerns “at the highest political level in Europe” through the Taoiseach’s participation in European Council and EU 27 meetings, as well as separate bilateral meetings with Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande, Prime Minister May, and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk.

In the statement today, it said it had been working closely with the Northern Executive through the North South Ministerial Council to optimise North/South planning for Brexit.

Liveblog: Brexit likely to dominate Leaders’ Questions>

Read: Trichet’s Corn: Yanis Varoufakis says the ECB are as bad as the British during the Famine>

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