TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has extended an invitation to British Prime Minister David Cameron to come to Ireland for 1916 centenary events.
He made the comments in London yesterday, where he was speaking after a bilateral meeting with Mr Cameron where Britain’s upcoming in/out referendum on its EU membership was top of the agenda.
“I have invited the Prime Minister to come over himself at some time during the year, if that is appropriate, and obviously he will consider that in due course,” Mr Kenny said.
Mr Cameron acknowledged the landmark 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in his comments, saying it was one of the “important events in our shared history”.
“We’ll mark them, as we should, in a spirit of mutual respect, inclusiveness, and friendship,” he said.
The pair also discussed the upcoming Brexit referendum, with Mr Kenny voicing his concerns about the “critical issue” for Ireland.
“I want Britain to remain a central member of the European Union because from our – Ireland’s point of view, this is a really critical issue,” he said.
“British business needs to make this point very positively, that we can be a stronger union, a stronger Britain, a stronger Ireland, by making changes that reform Europe in a way that helps everybody.”
A legal document is expected to be tabled by European Council President Donald Tusk in early February to discuss several proposals that Mr Cameron has put forward to the EU for a reformed union.
Mr Tusk is seeking a deal on a reform to entice Britain to stay within the union which will be debated next month by the leaders of the remaining 27 EU member states.
The proposals will be decided on before the EU summit on February 18 and 19 in Brussels.
Mr Kenny issued his support of the proposed reforms from Britain, which Mr Cameron divulged to him in the course of their meeting.
“I actually believe that all of these are solvable in a really positive sense because you know our position in Ireland, Europe will be much stronger with Britain as a central and fundamental member,” he said.
A referendum on Britain’s EU membership is slated to take place before the end of 2017 but no date has been set as of yet.
The Irish Post ran a poll earlier this month which found that the Irish community in Britain believe that Brexit is the most pressing issue facing them this year.