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EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier could address the Oireachtas

RTE news have reported that politicians in the south are set to invite Michel Barnier to a joint sitting of the Dail and Seanad
Andrew Madden

THE EU's chief Brexit negotiator could address the Irish parliament next month, according to a report.

RTE news have reported that politicians in the south are set to invite Michel Barnier to a joint sitting of the Dail and Seanad, with May 11 the most likely date for the speech.

Although no formal invitation has been sent to Mr Barnier, the southern broadcaster said initial contact has been made between parties from each side and the initial response has been positive.

If the address goes ahead, it would be a strong indication of Ireland's importance in the Brexit negotiations.

Such a meeting would be highly unusual, however, as the honour is usually reserved for heads of state and other high-profile dignitaries.

Former US president John F Kennedy became in first foreign leader to address the Oireachtas back in 1963, as did Nelson Mandela in 1990 after his release from prison in South Africa.

In 1995, the then US president Bill Clinton also spoke to TDs and senators, followed by the British prime minister Tony Blair in 1998 shortly after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

The invitation to Mr Barnier was proposed at the last meeting of the Dáil's Business Committee, which is chaired by the speaker of the Dail, Seán Ó Fearghaíl.

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