Monday, 27th March 2017
English advocates mutual recognition of Irish and UK citizenships post Brexit
Damien English, Meath West Fine Gael TD and Minister for Housing and
Urban Renewal, has advocated the mutual recognition by Ireland and the
United Kingdom of each other’s citizenships on a Bi-Lateral basis.
Minister English believes this as a solution to some of the challenges
that will face both countries post Brexit.
Minister English made his remarks in the week that British Prime
Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50 at a Fine Gael public meeting
on Brexit in the Newgrange Hotel in Navan on Monday night. The
meeting was arranged for members of the public from the constituencies
of Meath West and Meath East.
“Irish and UK citizenships are already quite comparable. For
instance, we afford each other similar voting rights, there are also
certain historic pre-EU rights in terms of passports and residency.
Many Irish people worked in the UK before returning home, and many
people in border counties still work in the North every day. All of
these people are worried about their current and future pension
“Many Irish students study in the North or on the mainland UK, and
would face crippling international student fees post Brexit. In light
of our enormous shared history with the UK, our volume of trade,
coupled with our common interest in the North and in so many areas
like co-operation in health services, I believe there is a compelling
case for a Bi-Lateral deal between the two counties on citizenship”.
“Such a deal would be in relation to areas that have not been devolved
to EU level, and as such would be outside the remit of the direct
EU/UK talks” Minister English told the Fine Gael public meeting on
“Additionally, Fine Gael in Government will be working with every
sector of the economy and the public service in planning to ensure
Ireland retains its competitive edge in research and innovation as
well as FDI in a post Brexit EU” Minister English concluded.
8th November 2016
‘The EU: United in Diversity’
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
- I am delighted to be here today on this the fifth year of the Europe Direct Information Centres’ Soapbox Competition Final.
- Going from strength to strength, this magnificent initiative – fostered and supported most generously by the European Commission.
- With its origins in the turn of the last century, the soapbox is evocative of ‘Speakers Corner’ in Hyde Park, London.
- It provides citizens from every community a fundamental opportunity to have their say on EU affairs.
- This is a key priority of the European Union and it strongly supports the principle behind the EU motto, ‘United in Diversity’.
- United in Diversity signifies how Europeans have come together, through the EU, to work for peace and prosperity, while at the same time being enriched by Europe’s many different cultures, traditions and languages.
- Recent events such as the refugee crisis and of course, Brexit, make the motto for today’s motion a burning topic for debate. And it has been keenly debated up and down the country at the eight regional finals.
- The competition has drawn more than 80 participants of all ages, backgrounds and stages in life. The very talented finalists we will hear today have without doubt earned their place in this Grand Final.
- I expect we will hear compelling and passionate arguments both for and against the topic. I do not envy the distinguished judges their difficult task of choosing the overall winners!
- But before we launch into the debate, I would like to take a moment or two to say a few words on the role of the European Direct Information Centres and our library service.
- Our Europe Direct Information Centres provide a vital link between the European Commission and Irish citizens.
- They provide important information and essential advice about the European Union’s policies and provide space for local and regional debate about the EU.
- Their events are purposely hosted to promote a greater knowledge and appreciation of the opportunities for work, study and travel in the EU. And celebrate the diversity of cultures within the 28 Member States.
- Most importantly, they are not a one-way communication channel; they offer the opportunity for everyone to send their observations and views back to the European Union institutions themselves.
- This critical link is facilitated through the eight Europe Direct Information Centres across the country, managed by Libraries Development in the Local Government Management Agency.
- They are ideally placed to reach the heart of the community.
- Located in public libraries, they stretch from, Letterkenny to Mallow, and from Dundalk to Waterford. There are dual centres in Donegal – Letterkenny and the Irish language centre in Gaoth Dobhair. And also in Galway, in Ballinasloe and Carraroe.
- The Centres offer additional services within the libraries. Ranging from advice on citizens’ rights, work and study in the EU and opportunities for entrepreneurs and SMEs within the EU.
- Indeed, our libraries are the default source of assistance when looking for information about public and government information, making them particularly suited as channels for EU communications.
- As an important and valued civic space for the community to learn, meet and explore its treasures, our libraries are more popular than ever.
- Continuously evolving to meet the needs of a changing population, libraries offer access to a vast range of on line services, information and opportunity to develop and fulfil creativity.
- Since January 2016 membership is free to everyone. Last year alone, there were over 17 million visits made to public libraries, an increase of 20% since 2008.
- Key to this popularity is the excellent service and positive message generated by Library staff whose interest and genuine support in their members needs is most evident.
- Returning to today’s event, the Soapbox Competition is an important annual event. It raises awareness locally and nationally on issues topical in Europe.
- Indeed, it is the perfect vehicle to showcase our proud tradition of public speaking here in Ireland.
- So, without any further delay, it is my great pleasure to open the Europe Direct Soapbox Final 2016, The EU: United in Diversity.
- And, I wish all of the contestants the very best of luck.
Local Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation and Meath West Fine Gael T.D. Damien English is this week in Nairobi, Kenya for 4 days, representing Ireland at the World Trade Organisation talks, and a related meeting of the E.U. Foreign Affairs Council.
Minister English is the first Irish Minister to visit Kenya following the opening of the Irish Embassy in Nairobi in 2014. Ireland’s Ambassador is Dr Vincent O Neill. While in Nairobi, in addition to attending the E.U. Foreign Affairs Council and the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference, Minister English will meet the Irish community in Kenya, Irish and International NGOs, visit projects supported by the Irish Aid programme and facilitate contacts between Irish and Kenyan Business organisations and companies.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is the global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations. It has 162 members, with 2 new members, Afghanistan and Liberia acceding to membership at the talks this week. The WTO accounts for about 95% of world trade. Over 20 other countries are negotiating membership. The WTO agreements are negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.
Speaking before his departure, Minister English stated: “This week in Nairobi, from an Irish perspective, we hope to see advancement on a key element of the Doha Development Agenda of the WTO. We will be working towards the conclusion of an important Sectoral Agreements namely the Information Technology Agreement and progress on the Environmental Goods Agreement. These are important sectoral trade deals for Ireland and Irish based firms in the technology sector stand to gain by tariff reductions. “
Minister Coveney working to negotiate a positive outcome for Irish farmers
Local Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation and Meath West Fine Gael T.D. Damien English has said that a €500 million EU aid package for farmers will be of significant benefit for farmers in Counties Meath and Westmeath.
“The announcement of this €500 million EU aid package is good news for Meath West farmers. We are waiting to find out how much will be allocated to Irish farmers.
“This fund will be used to ensure the provision of a 70% rate of advance payment payable under the direct payment schemes. The package will also enable the introduction of APS (Aids to Private Storage) for cheese and pigmeat, with better conditions for APS for other products and the introduction of additional promotional measures. I also welcome the separate announcement by the European Commission that it will re-engage in discussions with the Russian authorities concerning the restrictions imposed on certain pigmeat products.
“Clarity is now needed on how this €500 million aid package will be disbursed between EU states. We also need to know full details of the measures the European Commission is envisaging to support the market In that respect.
“I welcome the commitment of my colleague the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney to negotiate a positive outcome for Irish farmers. I am glad that the European Commission has addressed most of the points made by Ireland in the six-point plan that Minister Coveney presented to the Commission and the Council last week.
“Fine Gael is standing up for rural Ireland and working hard to spread the fruits of the economic recovery across the country. The Party’s “Standing up for Rural Ireland” is focused on ensuring that the benefits of the economic recovery are felt in every town, village, parish and home across rural Meath and Westmeath.”