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The British-Irish Relationship: Past, Present and Future

Chatham House, London

Participants

Simon Coveney TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Ireland

Chair: Dr Robin Niblett CMG, Director, Chatham House

Overview

The British and Irish governments have, in recent years, enjoyed strong diplomatic relations that have supported reconciliation and prosperity for both countries. The UK is Ireland’s closest geographic neighbour and also one of its most important economic partners in trade, investment and tourism. As a result, Ireland will arguably be more affected than any other EU member state by a United Kingdom exit from the EU.

2018 marks both the centenary of the 1918 Westminster election, one of the most significant elections in Irish history, and the twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement: the multi-party accord and international treaty that paved the way for an end to thirty years of conflict in Northern Ireland. The tánaiste and Irish foreign minister reflects on these and other milestones in the British-Irish relationship, on the challenges posed by the UK’s exit from the EU and how the relationship can prosper in the post-Brexit future.