Taoiseach Enda Kenny
In recent months, the Irish Government has advocated for our belief that the EU would be better with Britain as a leading member and that Britain and Ireland have always worked together very well as equal partners within the European Union.
I’m very sorry that the result of the referendum is for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. However, the British people have spoken clearly and we fully respect their position and their decision.
I want to assure the Irish public that we have prepared, to the greatest extent possible, for this eventuality. There will be no immediate change to the free flow of people, of good and of services between our islands.
We have previously set out our main concerns in the event of Brexit becoming a reality. These relate to the potential impacts for trade and for the economy and for Northern Ireland, for the Common Travel Area and for the European Union itself.
We have engaged in detailed contingency planning for the possibility of this result and this morning, at Government, we agreed to publish a summary of the key actions which we will now take to address the contingencies arising from the decision of the electorate of the United Kingdom.
Our primary objective remains to protect and to advance this country’s interest. I propose to further brief the Opposition leaders of those actions in the afternoon and the Dáil will be recalled on Monday.
The Summer Economic Statement, published earlier this week, includes an assessment of the potential economic impact of a UK vote to leave the European Union. Ireland is a strong, open and competitive economy and our ongoing economic recovery is testament to our resilience.
We will continue to implement policies that prioritise economic stability and growth and job creation and to use the benefits of that growth for our people.
…I want to say that we are acutely aware of the concerns which will be felt by the many thousands of people within the Irish community in Britain. Let me assure them that the Irish Government will also have their interests in our thinking, and very much in our thinking as we approach the forthcoming negotiations.
It is important to remember that the position of Irish citizens within the European Union will be unaffected. The other concern that the Government has expressed is about a British departure from the European Union relates to the impact on the European Union itself.
Ireland will, of course, remain a member of the European Union. This is profoundly in our national interest. After more than 40 years of membership, we have built up strong bonds of partnership with all the other member states and with the European institutions and that will continue to serve us well in the time ahead.
We must now, however, being a period of reflection and debate on how we can renew the union of 27 and equip it for the many challenges that lie ahead. There will be a discussion of the next steps at a meeting of the European Council next week.
I will set out, very clearly, our national position at that meeting and I will ensure that our particular national interests are fully respected as we prepare to enter the next phase of negotiations.
From Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s speech delivered earlier following the Brexit vote.