Tánaiste praises ‘unique relationship’ between Ireland and Wales on two-day visit to the country

Tánaiste praises ‘unique relationship’ between Ireland and Wales on two-day visit to the country

TÁNAISTE Micheál Martin has praised the ‘unique’ relationship that exists between Ireland and Wales during a two-day visit to the country.

Mr Martin, who is Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, is attending the third annual Ireland-Wales Forum this week.

He is joined by Ireland’s Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris on the trip, which concludes today.

The annual Forum brings together Irish and Welsh ministers to build relationships, reflect on ongoing collaboration and consider opportunities for further cooperation.

It is a cornerstone of the Ireland – Wales relationship as set out in the 2021 Shared Statement and Action Plan.

Discussions at this year’s event will focus on renewable energy, skills development and Irish and Welsh language promotion.

“As near neighbours, Ireland and Wales have always had a unique relationship, rooted in our shared Celtic heritage,” Mr Martin said.

“This bond has been further strengthened through the Shared Statement framework. I look forward in North Wales to meeting with Welsh Ministers to build on that level of connection.”

Speaking at a welcome event held at Bangor University in North Wales yesterday, Mr Martin highlighted some of the “ties that bind” the two nations.

“Ireland’s connections with Wales are deep and stretch back thousands of years,” he said.

“Nowhere is this clearer than in North Wales, with connections to Ireland reflected in the mythology of the Mabiniogion.

“In more recent times, Holyhead, of course, has been a gateway for countless Irish people to Wales and beyond for work, family, culture and sport,” he added.

“From the early mail boats to the ferries of today, Holyhead and the Isle of Anglesey holds a particular significance for people on both sides of the Irish Sea.

“Irish people have thrived in Wales.

“Those of you here today represent the academic, business and personal links that bind our two countries together.”

Tánaiste Micheál Martin addresses an audience at Bangor University (PIC: Gov.ie)

The Tánaiste and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford will visit a number of sites across North Wales this morning, including Holyhead Port, Morlais Hydrogen Hub and a Welsh-language school with links to Ireland.

The visit will also provide the Irish delegation an opportunity to look at preparations for the entry into force of the new UK import controls from January 2024.

Minister Harris will meet with Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, Lesley Griffiths today, to discuss strengthened links between Irish and Welsh universities.

Minister Harris’s programme also includes visits to the M-SParc science park and the Ty Gwyrddfai decarbonisation hub, with a particular focus on green skills development.

“I’m very pleased to be in Wales for this Forum,” Minister Harris said.

“The relationship we have with Wales presents us with huge opportunities for the future and I look forward to strengthening our cooperation and collaboration especially in terms of green skills development which will play a huge role in tackling the challenges we have today and those that lie ahead.”

The Ireland-Wales Shared Statement and Joint Action Plan 2021-25 was launched in March 2021.

It sets a framework for the Ireland-Wales relationship as both countries work to increase cooperation and collaboration across a range of sectors.

The inaugural Ireland Wales Forum was held in Wales in 2021, and the second Forum took place in Dublin and Cork in 2022.