N. Ireland Politics

Brexit: Irish PM Enda Kenny considers all-Ireland forum

Enda Kenny Image copyright AFP
Image caption Enda Kenny has said the Republic of Ireland is ready for the challenges a Brexit could bring

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is considering the formation of a forum to work on all-Ireland issues in the wake of the UK's decision to leave the EU.

The UK as a whole backed a Leave vote, but Northern Ireland voted to remain.

That has led politicians on both sides of the Irish border to raise concerns over the impact of a Brexit on issues such as trade, investment and health.

The suggested forum would enable groups to work on areas of mutual interest, the Irish government said.

On Thursday, Northern Ireland's Health Minister Michelle O'Neill said she has "real fears" about the impact on the health service.

And last week, Mr Kenny said the vote had caused a "political earthquake", but added that the Republic of Ireland was ready for the challenges a UK exit from the EU could cause.

Impulses

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said it would be crucial for the forum to reach agreement on how to "minimise the adverse economic fallout and ensure growth on the island".

"We have had confirmation that neither the British government nor the Northern Ireland Executive have put in place contingency plans to deal with the fallout of the referendum result," he said.

"Here on the island of Ireland, we must map the challenges, purposes and priorities that could most affect us, rather than following the impulses and bad decisions of the British government."

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said parties that campaigned for a Leave vote should also form part of the forum.

"There is an imperative on all of those who are concerned about the consequences of the Brexit vote to work together in the time ahead," he added.

On Monday, the North South Ministerial Council, the cross-border peace-building body, will meet in Dublin to consider the implications of the UK's EU referendum result.

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