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Charlie Flanagan: North must be a 'priority' during Brexit talks

(left to right) Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Exiting the EU Robin Walker, Foreign Affairs Minster Charlie Flanagan, Brexit Secretary David Davis, Tanaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy ahead of talks at Iveagh House in Dublin. Picture by Brian Lawless, Press Association

NORTHERN Ireland must be a priority for the British government as the UK plans its exit from the European Union, the Republic's Foreign Affairs minister Charlie Flanagan has said.

Mr Flanagan and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald were among the senior Irish politicians who met UK Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, David Davis, in Dublin yesterday.

The Irish ministers emphasised the need to lessen the impact of Brexit on the north including keeping the Common Travel area.

Speaking following the meeting, Mr Flanagan said the Irish government was "acutely conscious" of the challenges to be faced following June's referendum vote.

"Today we had a useful discussion on the implications and management of Brexit," he said.

"This process will be difficult and complex and require thorough planning and regular dialogue."

He said he emphasised "prioritisation of the vitally important Northern Ireland dimension in the overall Brexit process, with particular focus on the border but also more widely on sustaining the peace and prosperity so painstakingly built up over recent decades".

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said it was vitally important that the Common Travel area between the Republic and UK is maintained.

She said the two countries have worked closely with each other on issues including "criminal justice, policing, security and immigration matters".

"In particular, we are determined that there will be no diminution in security cooperation in combating the terrorist groups which seek to threaten peace on the island," she said.

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