Political parties from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are meeting in Dublin today to discuss the implications of Brexit for the island as a whole. Irish prime minister (Taoiseach), Enda Kenny, wants to hear from those affected by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union and to map out the challenges this poses on different parts of society – politically, economically, socially and culturally.
The meeting will also be attended by representatives from business and farming organisations, as well as civil society groups, although unionist parties will not be present. Neither the DUP nor the Ulster Unionist Party will be attending the conference. Arlene Foster, first minister of Northern Ireland and leader of the Democratic Unionist party, the main voice of Ulster unionism, whose party supports leaving the EU, has labelled it a “grandstanding exercise” for “remoaners” and will not be attending.
Today’s event reflects the uncertainty prevalent in Ireland and Northern Ireland on how to respond to the UK’s referendum result. Having joined the EU in 1973 on the same day, the two countries have both been supporters of the single market. Two major issues to bound to be discussed today, is the €1.2bn in goods and services that cross the Irish Sea every week and the future of Northern Ireland.