N. Ireland Politics

EU referendum: Enda Kenny and David Cameron speak about Northern Ireland after Brexit

Enda Kenny and David Cameron have had a telephone conversation following the EU referendum result Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Enda Kenny and David Cameron have had a telephone conversation following the EU referendum result

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and British Prime Minister David Cameron have spoken by telephone.

It follows the UK vote to leave the European Union.

It is understood Mr Cameron thanked Mr Kenny for his support through the referendum process.

Irish state broadcaster RTÉ has reported that an agreement was made that there would be no interruption to the close bilateral work on Northern Ireland.

It adds that it was also agreed that there would be immediate bilateral contact between senior officials on issues of mutual interest arising from the referendum, including the common travel area and the border.

Mr Kenny has also announced that the Irish Parliament is to be recalled on Monday to discuss the impact of Brexit on the Republic of Ireland.

He also added that the Irish government has a contingency plan following the UK vote.

"I want to assure the Irish public that we have prepared to the greatest extent possible for this eventuality," Mr Kenny said.

"There will be no immediate change to the free flow of people, goods and services between our islands."

The Irish government, which stayed neutral in the Scottish independence campaign, actively encouraged Irish citizens in the UK to vote to remain in the EU.

Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU by a majority of 56% to 44%. But the UK voted by a narrow margin to leave.

Speaking on Radio Ulster's Inside Politics on Saturday Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said she was not worried by early shocks to the financial markets following the referendum.

"We will get a good free trade deal with the European Union, not least because they sell considerably more to us than we do to them," she said.

"So I believe that any short term instability in the market will correct itself and ultimately reflect the fundamentals of the economy which are healthy."

She again ruled out an Irish border poll.

"The Good Friday Agreement sets out the conditions under which I am required to call for a border poll - those are when I believe that there's a reasonable likelihood that there would be a majority for a united Ireland," she said.

"There's nothing to indicate that that would be the case - quite the contrary, the research and opinion polls have tended all to make it very clear that the majority in Northern Ireland support the political settlement under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and hence Northern Ireland's place within the United Kingdom."

Sinn Fein's national chairperson Declan Kearney has called for the prime minister to meet with the first and deputy first ministers following the referendum result, in order to "deal with the very serious situation that obtained here in the north".

He told the BBC that he was "confident Martin McGuinness will be meeting with Arlene Foster at the beginning of the week".

'Two sets of agreements'

Meanwhile Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes said the Irish government must work with the British government in the weeks ahead.

"I think it's important, as the taoiseach said, that Ireland and especially he as taoiseach, work with David Cameron and indeed with his successor, to see what measure of agreement we can obtain from the European Union," he said.

"I see two sets of agreements here - I see an agreement obviously between both sovereign governments to deal with the issues on the border and between north and south, but I also see work that we have to do with the British in terms of helping a negotiation at the EU level."

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