Scotland-Ireland bilateral review report

The report and recommendations for this review set out current areas of bilateral cooperation and identify opportunities for cooperation and joint initiatives in new areas, which are devolved to Scotland, over the next 5 years from 2021 to 2025.


Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence

� Julian Behal / DFAT
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Michael Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs

� Scottish Government
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We are delighted to publish this report, but do so, of course, at a time of unprecedented change and challenge. Although we can't launch the report together in Edinburgh or Dublin, we are impressed and enthused by the energy, and opportunity it, and our joint process, contains.

Undertaking a bilateral review jointly has been a first for each of our governments. At the outset, in November 2019, it was agreed that the purpose of the review was to ensure that the closeness, the cooperation, and the natural connectivity of the Irish-Scottish relationship was not taken for granted in a changing international environment. We also agreed that the scope of the review should align with the shared competences of both governments.

The end of the Brexit transition period has brought change. In this new context, we both want to see the closest possible relationship between Scotland and Ireland, and the UK and Ireland, for the mutual benefit of the people in our countries, and, more broadly, on these islands.

The review considered what we do together: as governments, as trading nations, through our research bodies, our cultural institutions and our communities. We heard from many people and organisations whose ideas, experience and energy for further cooperation are reflected in this report. The response to our public questionnaire was overwhelmingly positive and provided a rich seam of information on connections across all themes of the review.

Listening to many voices, we have agreed recommendations of what more we should do. This is a starting point for the next five years, and indeed beyond. We have created the signposts which point the way for our ambitions to work together, rather than narrowly defining future outcomes. By creating further opportunities, we know we will see new ideas emerge, as the relationship continues to evolve.

Moreover, in order to ensure that the ambition in our recommendations is realised, we are committed to meeting annually, when we will not only look at what we have done, but also set new, ambitious, shared objectives.

As we continue to live with COVID-19 and rebuild our societies and economies, this new and focussed cooperation will support our broader recovery. We look forward to shared endeavour in many fields, from the arts, science, business, across government and between our people.

This is both a platform, on which our relationship will grow, and a map, which will guide that growth. We commend it to our fellow citizens. We hope that you will find opportunity and ambition reflected within. Please join us in realising
it together.

Pat Kinevane's Before at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019.
© Patrick Redmond
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