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Taoiseach has first face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson

The two leaders are discussing management of Covid-19 and Brexit negotiations.

Image: Merrion Street

Updated Aug 13th 2020, 6:00 PM

THE TAOISEACH HAD his first face-to-face meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson today in Co Down.

Micheál Martin met Johnson at Hillsborough Castle just after noon today, following the Prime Minister’s meeting with Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill.

The government said today’s meeting would be an opportunity for discussion of a number of issues of mutual concern such as the management of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit negotiations.

Following the meeting, the UK government said the two leaders discussed the “importance of working together as neighbours to defeat coronavirus, including through close collaboration between Ireland, the UK Government and the Northern Irish Executive”.

“They agreed on the need for the international community to work together on developing rapid tests, therapeutics and vaccines.

“The Prime Minister and Taoiseach also agreed on the importance of a sustainable, green recovery from the economic impact of coronavirus. The Prime Minister stressed the opportunity that lies ahead for international governments, including the UK and Ireland, to promote free trade and invest in environmentally friendly technology.”

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Johnson also updated the Taoiseach on his assessment of the UK/EU negotiations.

“He stressed that the UK would continue to take pride in high environmental, animal welfare and labour standards outside the European Union. He underlined however that the UK was not willing to make level playing field commitments that went beyond those normally found in a Free Trade Agreement, such as the EU’s agreement with Canada.

The Prime Minister also underscored the UK’s commitment to meet our obligations under the Northern Ireland Protocol, as set out in the paper published in May. Our priority remains protecting Northern Ireland’s place in our United Kingdom and preserving the huge gains from the peace process.

“The leaders looked forward to working together over the coming years to improve the connectivity between our countries, strengthen our relationship outside of the EU and promote the UK and Ireland’s shared values alongside likeminded democracies.”

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