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Taoiseach meets Michel Barnier

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Michel Barnier in Government Buildings today

Taoiseach outlines Ireland's priorities to European Commission's Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier

Taoiseach Enda Kenny welcomed the European Commission's Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier to Government Buildings today.

Mr Barnier, who took office on 1 October will lead the EU's technical negotiations with the UK, under the political guidance of EU Heads of State or Government at the European Council, once the British Government has triggered Article 50.

His visit to Dublin is one of series of early engagements with EU capitals, before the formal negotiations process begins next year.

Speaking after the meeting the Taoiseach said:

I was delighted to meet with Michel Barnier in Dublin today - he is well-known to us here in Ireland, has a strong appreciation of our close historical, political and economic ties with the UK, and also knows of our strong commitment to EU membership.

During our discussions, I took the opportunity to emphasise Ireland's unique set of priorities with regard to Brexit, and the many complex issues relating to Northern Ireland, the Common Travel Area and the depth of our economic and trade relationship with the UK.

Michel and the European Commission will have a critically important role to play in the complex negotiations that we now know will begin next spring. It was useful therefore to hear his thoughts about the process and how negotiations might be handled.

We will be working closely with the Commission team in the months ahead, as we all address the particular challenges posed by Brexit.

Mr. Barnier also had meetings during the day with the Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan, and the Minister for European Affairs Dara Murphy.