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 Header Item Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)
 Header Item Ceisteanna - Questions
 Header Item Brexit Issues

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 926 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen] There was the teak toughness that was learned on the fields of County Laois. As near neighbours and competitors, to which Deputy Willie Penrose alluded, when you were hit by a Laois man, you felt it. He had a great appreciation of the GAA and the GAA fraternity and was most praiseworthy of his neighbour's success when the county won all-Ireland titles in the 1980s, at the expense of Laois, it might be said. It was a fine team and, were it not for Offaly's advancement, I have no doubt that it would have been the one to take the accolades at the time. He acknowledged this and supported it as if it was his own.

I again thank Paddy's family for their commitment to him and, as has been said by previous speakers more eminent than me, they can be hugely proud of his achievements and efforts. Long may he be remembered. I have no doubt that we will see to it that that is the case because the constituency is all the better for him having represented it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I add my voice to those of all previous speakers. I had the great privilege of knowing Paddy Lalor for 30 years or more. Deputy Sean Fleming has alluded to the 1987 general election when he was director of elections and responsible, for better or worse, for adding me to the ticket in Kildare South.

I thank the Lalor family because, by being here, they give us the opportunity to reflect on the contribution their father made at constituency, national and European level. As other speakers said, they can be hugely proud of the fact that he made a real difference to the lives of people in the constituency, the country and Europe. That is something very few people have the opportunity to do. I very much regret the fact that I was out of the country at the time his death. I will remember him, first and foremost, as a family man. Nobody knows better than they that he and Myra were at the centre of that great family. I remember him as a warm, likeable and admirable gentleman. For my part, it was a privilege to know him and a privilege to call him a friend.

  Members rose.

Ceisteanna - Questions

Brexit Issues

 1. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if the new Cabinet committee which is overseeing the Government response to Brexit has met. [31698/16]

 2. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if there have been specific steps taken to allow negotiations between Ireland and Britain on Brexit. [32049/16]

 3. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny the status of the invitations, format and schedule for the civic dialogue forum on 2 November 2016.  [32051/16]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, together.

The Cabinet committee on Brexit has met twice to date, on 8 September and 19 October, for an in-depth discussion of the issues arising from the UK decision to leave the European Union. The committee will oversee the overall Government response, including both the economic impact and the negotiations at EU level and with the administrations in London and Belfast. It will continue to meet on a regular basis to deal with Brexit-related issues. Brexit has been a matter of regular and detailed consideration by the Government for some time, both in advance of the UK EU referendum and since. Since 23 June, seven memoranda have been submitted to the Government on the matter.

Most recently, the Government discussed the action taken to date to prepare for Brexit, including, in particular, priority concerns for this country: the economy and trade; the peace process and Northern Ireland; the common travel area; and the future of the European Union. The Government also approved a range of further actions to ensure Ireland would be fully prepared for the difficult negotiations ahead.

There is ongoing close political and official engagement, including with the British Government, Northern Ireland and EU member states and institutions, on issues arising from Brexit.

The Government has engaged in extensive contacts with our EU partners. In the aftermath of the referendum, I have had meetings with the British Prime Minister, Ms Theresa May, in London; the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Berlin; the French President, Francois Hollande, in Dublin and the European Council President, Mr. Donald Tusk, in Dublin. Most recently, on 12 October, I welcomed the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, Mr. Michel Barnier, to Government Buildings, where we discussed Brexit in detail. Mr. Barnier, together with senior team members, also had meetings with the Tánaiste, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Minister of State with responsibility for European affairs and senior officials.

I have also taken the opportunity, on the margins of recent EU summits, to raise our concerns with the President of the European Council, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, and other EU leaders.

Other Ministers, including, of course, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Minister of State with responsibility for European affairs, are continually raising and explaining our concerns to our partners.

The annual summit of Secretaries General with UK permanent secretaries took place in London on 5 and 6 October. This well established annual forum served as a valuable vehicle for discussion and exploration of the implications of Brexit, in addition to providing for consideration of the broad areas of co-operation under the joint work programme.

The Government also continues to work closely with the Northern Ireland Executive and the First Minister and the deputy First Minister, including, in particular, through the North-South Ministerial Council, which will meet in Armagh on 18 November.

The invitations to attend the conference on 2 November launching the all-island civic dialogue issued last week. Invitations have been extended to a broad range of civic society groups, trade unions, business groups, non-governmental organisations and representatives from political parties. The event will also be streamed live on the Internet. Further information will be sent to attendees in the coming days.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams One of the things about which I am a bit discommoded is that the Government says all the time, "We have to wait to see what the British are doing," or, "We are not sure what the British Government's negotiating position may be." I acknowledge that the Taoiseach was very active during the Brexit campaign and that he has been in contact with our partners within the European Union. However, as I said, what we have to do is get our own house in order. I am concerned that we may restrain ourselves in thinking within the context of what is happening in this State.

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