Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade Darragh O’Brien TD has called for the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA) to be strengthened in the wake of the Brexit referendum result.
Commenting on this issue Deputy O’Brien said, “I believe that given the gravity of the situation we need to strengthen the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Currently, the Assembly holds bi-annual plenary meetings but I think that increased engagement is warranted in light of the referendum result.
“It is imperative now more than ever that we use all the mechanisms at our disposal to maintain and strengthen the good relations between Ireland and Britain. When Brexit materialises, it is going to have very significant ramifications for the entire Island of Ireland, including the very real possibility of a border re-emerging between North and South. We must therefore ensure that there is significant political engagement with colleagues in neighbouring Parliaments and Assemblies on this issue.
“The strengthening of the BIPA would complement the ‘National Dialogue’ suggested by Party Leader Micheál Martin. While BIPA is of great value, it is crucial that we move beyond merely political engagement on this issue and that we have engagement from civil society.
“Brexit has economic, social and cultural implications and as a consequence there must be a broad representation of views and standpoints reflected in any discussions going forward.
“We must be as inclusive as possible and ensure that we do all we can to negotiate the best possible outcome for the Island of Ireland and society as a whole.”