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Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

Gabhaim buíochas leis an gCathaoirleach agus guím tráthnóna maith ar an gCeannaire.
I congratulate the Government on the announcement of its proposed Getting Ireland Brexit Ready events. It includes a series of engagements to take place across the State, one in the Leader's home place in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork, one at NUI Galway, one at the Four Seasons hotel in Monaghan and one in Croke Park, Dublin. It is a glaring omission that there is not going to be one of these events held in the North. I have written to the Minister and expressed my disappointment. I raised it with officials last week also. The Irish secretariat in Belfast will host a book launch later today. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade held important and significant interventions and events during the decade of centenaries to mark the signing of the Ulster Covenant, the 1916 Easter Rising, the Battle of the Somme, etc. All of those events were positive and it is right that they took place. I cannot understand what practical barriers there are to the Irish Government hosting an event of this nature which does profess to get Ireland Brexit ready, not just part of Ireland. I encourage the Government to reconsider and host an event that would accommodate the 1.5 million Irish citizens in the North. Many organisations and individuals want to engage with the Irish Government. The Leader will recall that the British Government's advice to businesses and others was to go and talk to the Government in Dublin about Brexit. It would be a positive intervention on the Government's behalf if it would reflect on that and hear from the entirety of the country.
October is upon us and we are at a crucial juncture in Brexit negotiations and the Council of Europe meeting. At the end of the last term, we discussed having statements on Brexit and the negotiations, and the Leader committed to doing that as early as possible in this new term. I appreciate the sensitivities and dynamics involved and I am not seeking to undermine them in any way, but the Minister could come to the House to update us as to the current state of play.