5. Beyond the themes
The online questionnaire also provided the opportunity for respondents to identify ‘other areas where Ireland and Scotland should collaborate, or could usefully increase their collaboration’ outwith the five main policy themes which are the focus of the review, and 533 comments were submitted. A wide range of topics were identified. Where these aligned with the five review themes, contributions have been included in the previous sections. It needs to be highlighted that responses to the questionnaire are not representative of the Irish or Scottish public, and reflect the opinions and views of individual or organisational contributors.
Comments and views offered to this section of the online questionnaire were most often outwith the scope of the review, and related to international matters (such as peace building or international development endeavours). In certain cases, these suggestions fell outwith the jurisdiction or authority of either government, or beyond the remit of the Ireland-Scotland bilateral relationship. Many of the comments related to the UK’s departure from the EU and the likely effects on Ireland, Scotland and the bilateral relationship. The vast majority of respondents who mentioned Brexit were concerned about the likely consequences for both countries, and expressed the hope that Scotland and Ireland would seek to work together to mitigate any negative effects of Brexit.
Many comments were also received on the constitutional arrangements in both Scotland and Ireland – these were also sometimes framed with reference to membership of the European Union. Such views spanned a broad spectrum of opinions, and while many of these focused on the prospect of change, a number stressed that on-going bilateral engagement and collaboration between both countries was essential for any constitutional scenario.
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