LEADER OF the Labour Party Keir Starmer will be in Dublin today to meet with political leaders, with the Northern Ireland Protocol expected to dominate discussions.
Starmer will meet with President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Micheál Martin, with other scheduled meetings to include Minister for Foreign Affair Simon Coveney and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, as well as Labour leader Ivana Bacik.
This will be his first trip to Ireland as leader of the party.
The British-Irish Chamber of Commerce yesterday evening hosted Starmer for an event with representatives from businesses across the island of Ireland.
The ‘Business Leader Engagement with Keir Starmer’ event saw the him discuss business ties between the UK and Ireland and the need for the UK and EU to reach an agreement on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Director-General of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce John McGrane said his visit is “extremely timely and important” given the need for all sides to work together and find “pragmatic solutions” to the Protocol, adding that it’s “vital” that politics does not get in the way.
Starmer said the Chamber plays a vital role in “maintaining focus on the value of two-way trade between the United Kingdom and Ireland, for business, for our governments, and our communities”.
"Now is not a time for games, but for practical solutions, based on trust. And because this is how business operates, it is vital that you are round the table, and your voice is heard."
"Business always finds a way forward with determination and optimism, working together in the spirit of finding collective solutions. You do it because people need you to. Politicians need to find a similar way forward, to secure certainty and clarity for British and Irish trade," he said.
Starmer will then head to Belfast on Friday to meet political leaders in Stormont, where he is expected to call for compromise and negotiation to end the political deadlock over the return of the power-sharing Executive.