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 Header Item Business of Dáil (Continued)
 Header Item Ceisteanna - Questions
 Header Item Brexit Issues

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 932 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl] He is absolutely correct - the negotiations that take place between my office and any Member of the House are confidential and have always been treated as such. Following the Deputy's call, I called the Government Press Office to protest that my office had been referred to in a communication issued by it on this matter.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I thank the Ceann Comhairle. It is a mark of the character of the messing on this very serious issue that the Government should do such a thing.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I thank the Deputy; we do not need to go further.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The question was asked yesterday whether, if Deputy Gerry Adams wished to make a statement, I would give Government time for it and I said "Yes". Obviously, the making of a personal statement is a matter between the Ceann Comhairle and the Deputy involved. I am sorry that a message to the contrary was sent. It is for the Deputy to deal with the Ceann Comhairle, but the question I was asked was if I would give Government time to enable the Deputy to make a statement and I was very happy to do so. I hope that in the statement he will make today at 5 p.m. he will deal with the issues we have raised.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams The Taoiseach needs to take responsibility for his office and those who give misleading briefings.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl We cannot go into that matter now.

Ceisteanna - Questions

Brexit Issues

 1. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if Prime Minister May mentioned her intention to reduce the UK corporation tax rate when they were speaking last. [37350/16]

 2. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he will report on the meeting of the British-Irish Council which he attended on 25 November 2016.  [38639/16]

 3. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny when he last spoke to the British Prime Minister, Ms Theresa May; and if he raised with her potential issues relating to the Good Friday Agreement arising from Brexit.  [38777/16]

 4. Deputy Brendan Howlin Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if he has held discussions on Brexit with the governments of Gibraltar and the Isle of Man; and, if not, his plans to do so.  [38621/16]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 4, inclusive, together.

I attended the British-Irish Council which was hosted by the Welsh Government in Cardiff on 25 November. The Council continued our discussions on the emerging impacts of Brexit for member administrations. The themes raised included the implications for the economy and trade, the common travel area and relations with the European Union. I gave an overview of the Government’s preparations for Brexit, the all-island civic dialogue and the outcomes of the North-South Ministerial Council.

The summit also provided an opportunity for Ministers with particular responsibility for early years policy to consider a collaborative paper prepared by the Council’s early years' work sector on the importance of creating strong foundations for children and families to thrive. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Katherine Zappone, attended the Council on this occasion and gave the Government’s perspective in this regard.

I also had a scheduled bilateral meeting in Cardiff with the First Minister of Scotland, Ms Nicola Sturgeon.

The Isle of Man was represented at the British-Irish Council by its newly appointed Chief Minister, Mr. Howard Quayle. Brexit and its implications for all member administrations were discussed at both the most recent summit and the previous extraordinary summit which also took place in Wales. On these occasions the Chief Minister, Mr. Quayle, and his predecessor, Mr. Allan Bell, set out quite clearly the impacts on the Isle of Man of the UK withdrawal from the European Union. I have no immediate plans to meet the Government of Gibraltar. The relationship of the Crown dependencies and overseas territories such as Gibraltar with the United Kingdom and the European Union is a matter to be handled by these administrations, in consultation with the UK Government or Brussels, as appropriate.

I last saw the Prime Minister, Ms Theresa May, at the October meeting of the European Council. While I did not have formal bilateral meetings with her on that occasion, I did talk informally to my counterparts, including the Prime Minister, during the course of discussions and on the margins of the meeting. When I met the Prime Minister in London in July, we agreed to work together to build on the continuing strength and closeness of the UK-Ireland relationship. A key priority is to ensure the peace process, including the Good Friday Agreement and the various successor Agreements, is protected in any future arrangement that might emerge from negotiations. The Government will continue to work closely with the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, as required, to protect the peace process.

The Prime Minister has not mentioned any proposal regarding the UK corporation tax rate to me, although I am aware of such proposals being considered. Our discussions focused largely on common priorities in the context of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl There are three Deputies who wish to contribute. If they take three minutes each, we will have an opportunity to go back to the Taoiseach.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin In his reply to my question the Taoiseach says the Prime Minister, Ms Theresa May, did not mention the corporation tax issue to him. Did he discuss the matter with her in any shape or form? With other elements, Ireland's corporation tax rate has been an important and significant element of our industrial policy for more than 30 years in attracting inward investment. It is something Ireland has sought to protect in international agreements. It was, for example, attached to the protocol to the Lisbon treaty when the issue was raised during the referendum. In the first referendum many people who were against the Lisbon treaty and the European Union actually insisted that the corporation tax rate was in jeopardy and that our tax sovereignty could be eroded.


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