Northern Ireland

Time for a great reset in Anglo-Irish relations, says Taoiseach after Labour win

Simon Harris said he looks forward to working closely with Sir Keir Starmer as he acknowledged his ‘comprehensive victory’ in the General Election.

(Gareth Chaney/PA)

Ireland’s premier, Simon Harris, has said the election of a Labour government in the UK can herald a “great reset” in Anglo-Irish relations.

The Taoiseach said he looks forward to working closely with Sir Keir Starmer as he acknowledged his “comprehensive victory” in the General Election.

“I want to congratulate him and his family, his staff and his candidates, and as Taoiseach I look forward to working together as close neighbours and as friends,” he said.

“The relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom is deeply consequential for all people across these islands and the relationship between an Irish Taoiseach and a British Prime Minister is vital.”

The relationship between London and Dublin has been under severe strain in recent years.

The turbulence caused by Brexit and the Conservative government’s controversial laws to deal with the legacy of the Troubles were areas of major tension.

Sir Keir has pledged to repeal the legislation that offered conditional immunity for perpetrators of Troubles crimes.

“Today is about looking forward,” Mr Harris said as he addressed reporters at Government Buildings in Dublin.

“It’s about realising the full potential of that relationship between Taoiseach and Prime Minister and between our governments. I know that Keir Starmer and I share a desire for it to go from strength to strength. It is time for a great reset.

“In the Labour Party manifesto the language towards Ireland was language of partnership and as co-guarantors of our shared peace. This morning from Dublin I want to send a message to London that I will match Keir Starmer’s commitment and energy to our peace process and to our future potential in so many areas.

“I will work to make the Taoiseach/Prime Minister relationship not only what it should be, but what it could be.

“Ireland and the UK are not only neighbours, we are independent nations that are intertwined in history and culture. In many, many instances, we are, in fact, family. We have never forgotten that, not for one moment, no matter what challenges came our way.”

Mr Harris added: “I look forward to early engagement with Prime Minister Starmer. We will say more on that in the hours and days ahead, but he has a few other things to do first.

“At five o’clock this morning Keir Starmer told his country ‘Change starts now’.

“That change includes a closer Anglo-Irish relationship and the opportunity for a great reset.”