Eluned Morgan AM, Minister for International Relations & Welsh Language
On 13 June I conducted a full day’s programme of visits in and around Dublin. This was my first visit to Dublin as Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language.
The main focus of my visit was a one-to-one meeting with the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney. We were both pleased to celebrate the re-opening of the Irish Consulate in Cardiff and the prospects it affords for strengthening our relations. We spoke about Wales’ experience of promoting the Welsh Language and how we might share this for the benefit of both Ireland and Northern Ireland. We shared concerns about the impact of Brexit, both in terms of contingency planning and potential impacts. In particular, we discussed the flows of trade between Ireland and EU countries, the role our respective ports play in facilitating that, and the levels of interdependency required to achieve just in time delivery for vital consumer and pharmaceutical products. We also discussed joint programmes funded through the EU, including the ETC Ireland Wales and Interreg programmes, the benefits they have and are delivering, and the need to ensure our voice is heard in any UK government discussions with the EU on their continuation.
I was also able to make a broad range of calls across my portfolio. This included a visit to Sharp Clinical Services and their parent company UDG Healthcare, a company with a track record of investment in Wales. I held a round table meeting with a range of representatives from the British Irish Chamber of Commerce at the Guinness Enterprise Centre – the world’s number one business incubator. I visited the National Museum of Ireland who have recently established a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Museum of Wales. I also visited our Welsh Government office based within the British Embassy in Dublin and whilst there meet with the British Ambassador to Ireland.
In all my meetings with Irish government and businesses the goodwill and the desire to work with Wales, come what may, was evident. This was despite their continued incredulity that Wales could have voted the way it did in 2016.