Report details importance of ‘closest possible’ relationship between Ireland and Scotland

Scottish Parliament

IRELAND and Scotland have published their joint bilateral review report which sets out a series of joint actions to be taken collaboratively by the two countries.

The Scottish Government said that at the heart of the report is a shared understanding of the importance of securing the ‘closest possible’ relationship between the two countries.

Over forty recommendations across five thematic areas are made in the report. This includes a new Ireland-Scotland trade taskforce, supported by the Consulate General of Ireland in Edinburgh and the Scottish Government office in Dublin. The taskforce will work with both the public and private sector to support trade relations.

The report earmarked construction and renewable energy as two of the most promising sectors in the economic relations between the two countries, adding that there is potential for ‘significant’ growth in this area.

Other recommendations in the report include deeper cooperation on health issues; a new framework for cooperation on education; research and development of off-shore renewable energy technologies; and exploring together how to increase participation and inclusivity in sport.

The Government of Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs, Simon Coveney, said, “Undertaking a bilateral review jointly has been a first for each of our governments.

“Its purpose was simple: to ensure that the closeness, the cooperation, and the natural connectivity of the Irish-Scottish relationship was strengthened in a changing international environment.

“Through the recommendations in this review, I know we will enhance our shared work across many fields.

“We will work more closely as Governments to manage challenges together, including to support our broader recovery from Covid-19 in the coming years.  I see this review as both a platform, on which our relationship will grow; and a map, which will guide that growth.”

The Scottish Government’s external affairs secretary, Michael Russell, added, “We are delighted to publish this report, and look forward to building on the great friendship we have by enhancing co-operation at this time of unprecedented change and challenge.

“This review 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 to benefit business, the creative and cultural sector, education and a range of other areas of importance to both our countries.

“By creating further opportunities, we know we will see new ideas emerge, as the relationship continues to evolve. 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.”