Access to single market

First Minister to address business leaders in Dublin.

UK membership of the Single Market is good for all the British Isles and the Irish Government has a strong ally in Scotland to help secure this important goal, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will say during an address to business leaders tomorrow. (Tuesday)


She will address 130 CEOs including representatives from Microsoft, Aer Lingus, Diageo, Accenture,  Ulster Bank and EIR during an event at business organisation Ibec.


The First Minister will stress that the Scottish Government is working hard to make Scotland the best place anywhere in the UK to do business and to increase trade and co-operation with the rest of the world.


Later this week, the Scottish Government's new Investment and Innovation hub in Dublin will support a trade mission from Scotland. This will bring together 16 companies from a range of sectors to develop awareness of the trading opportunities available in Ireland, offer advice on how to do business in the Irish market and assist contact with buyers.


The First Minister will say:


“The relationship between Scotland and Ireland is better now than it has ever been. The ties between our governments, businesses, cultural organisations, universities and colleges, and our people are closer and stronger than ever.


“A hard Brexit is likely to be the most damaging option for trade, jobs and our universities sector. We share the frustrations of the Irish business community about the lack of information we have, and the possibility of a hard Brexit. This is why we are we are determined to do all we can to mitigate the impact of Brexit and persuade the UK Government to retain single market membership. It is my firm belief that this position is in the interests, not just of Scotland, but off all the nations on these Islands. On virtually every issue of substance Ireland has a strong ally in Scotland and I look forward to working together to boost economic growth.”


The First Minister had a series of engagements yesterday (Monday) which included meeting President Michael D Higgins to build on the already strong economic, cultural and political links between Scotland and Ireland.


She also visited SSE to launch a report into the economic benefits of the Galway Wind Park project, demonstrating the strong economic links between Scotland and Ireland. She also attended an event with campaign organisation Women for Election hosted by Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald to discuss what lessons could be learnt between the two countries to promote more women in public life.


The First Minister then met Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan and had a positive meeting, discussing the impact of Brexit, economic co-operation and Scottish- Irish relations.


Speaking about the meeting with the Foreign Affairs Minister, the First Minister said: “Today’s meeting was very positive and builds on the strong links between Scotland and Ireland. We discussed a range of issues including economic cooperation, employability, social welfare and innovation. This follows on from a constructive meeting with the Taoiseach at the British Irish Council last week. Following the Brexit vote, the Scottish-Irish relationship is more important than ever and today was an opportunity to strength our economic, political and cultural ties. 


“Earlier this year, the Scottish Government  set up a new Scottish innovation and investment hub in Dublin to boost trade and investment with Ireland. The hub is providing firms with additional support to help them grow and build business relationships on both sides of the Irish Sea. I look forward to building on this relationship, boosting economic prosperity between our countries and continued cooperation on areas of common interest in the months and years ahead.”


Finally, the First Minister visited Trinity College to receive a honorary patronage from the Philosophical Society and took part in a Q & A session with some of the student body, before touring the campus and viewing the Book of Kells.


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