Higgins shares Brexit concerns with Australian prime minister

President speaks with Malcolm Turnbull about historic links between Ireland and Australia.

President Michael D Higgins shared the Government’s concerns about the impact of Brexit on Ireland during a meeting with the Australia prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra  - writes irishtimes.com.

On the ninth day and fourth stop of his 19-day State visit to Australia, Mr Higgins met Mr Turnbull at Parliament House on Monday morning after laying a wreath at the Australian War Memorial.

In discussions with the Australian prime minister, Mr Higgins pointed out that the Belfast Agreement was an international agreement and that care had to be taken with the peace process when it came to the negotiations

Mr Turnbull asked the President about the Irish experience of the 2015 same-sex marriage referendum in the context of Australia’s same-sex marriage postal plebiscite that runs until next month.

Mr Higgins and Mrs Sabina Higgins spoke of the quality of the discourse and the contributions of Irish families to the debate in the run-up to the Irish vote.

He discussed with Mr Turnbull of the historic links between the two countries in the areas of trade, tourism, education and the arts.

The President referred too to the contributions made by Irish people in Australia and the important government and civic initiatives taken to support the immigrant communities.

The President briefed Mr Turnbull on Ireland’s bid to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

This is the first State visit by an Irish head of state since president Mary McAleese visited in 1998.

Mr Higgins was joined in Canberra by the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Frances Fitzgerald TD who will travel on with him to Sydney on Tuesday for business and tourism-related events. They were met in Australia by the Irish ambassador Breandán O Caollaí.

Mr Higgins and Mr Turnbull discussed significant issues facing the European Union , including the potential implications of the UK leaving the EU.

“You are among friends and family here,” the Australian prime minister told Mr Higgins on his arrival at Parliament House. More than two million Australians claim Irish heritage.

A spokesman for the President said he and Mr Turnbull used their meeting “to reaffirm the long and abiding bonds shared by the people of Ireland and Australia, and discussed a wide range of issues.”

The two leaders discussed the business ties between the countries and the fact that there are more than 130 Irish companies in Australia and 40 Australian companies operating in Ireland.

Mr Higgins told him that 55 Irish companies were accompanying him on a trade mission as part of the State visit, pointing out the opportunities for future mutual economic cooperation between the countries.

The President spoke to the need “to move towards an approach to political and economic decision making which achieves social cohesion and is built on the values of mutual solidarity,” his spokesman said.

After his meeting with Mr Turnbull, the President was greeted by Australia’s governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove at Government House and honoured with a ceremonial welcome and a guard of honour.

After inspecting the guard, Mr Higgins and Sir Peter stood for the playing of the national anthems of the two countries before the President proceeded inside Government House to sign the visitors’ book.

The governor-general told Mr Higgins during their subsequent meeting: “Australia would not the country it is today, without Ireland and the Irish.”

The President said that he looked forward to many Irish-Australians attending the Rugby World Cup if Ireland was to host the event.

After a State lunch in his honour, the President returned to Parliament House to meet the Labour Party leader Bill Shorten MP, Australia’s leader of the opposition, and parliaments of Irish descent who are members of the Australia-Ireland Parliamentary Friendship Group.

Read other Irish news on our city site of Dublin.

BreandanOCaollai FrancesFitzgerald MalcolmTurnbull MaryMcaleese
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
3 views in november
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

A new programme aimed at helping immigrant teachers find work in Irish schools opens to applicants today. The course, at Dublin’s Marino Institute of Education, aims to provide immigrants who are qualified teachers, but not working as such, with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enable them to find employment here. Recent research has found that while Ireland’s school student population is now highly diverse, teachers here continue to be overwhelmin...
EU and UK negotiators have agreed a text that deals with the Irish border, RTÉ News understands. The text was agreed at around 9pm last night and then transmitted to Downing Street. While two well-placed sources have confirmed that the text was "as stable as it can be", they say it would not be correct to say that the negotiations have "concluded". According to both sources, there will be one backstop to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. The ba...
The Cabinet will meet this morning to consider developments around the draft text of a Brexit withdrawal agreement. Yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar put his colleagues on standby for this morning's meeting, which is due to be held at 9.30am. Mr Varadkar and the Tánaiste will update their Government colleagues on what has happened over the last 24 hours. It follows a meeting last night between Mr Varadkar, Tánaiste Simon Coveney, Minister for Finance Pasch...
A number of events have taken place around the country and in Northern Ireland to mark the centenary of the ending of World War I. Locations where ceremonies have taken place include Belfast, Enniskillen, Cork, Limerick, Sligo, Kilkenny, Westmeath, Galway and Tipperary. In Cork city, Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Mick Finn laid a wreath at the Cenotaph on the Grand Parade. He was joined by relatives of those who died in WWI and members of the Cork branch of the...
The two men who were arrested in Athy, Co Kildare yesterday in the investigation into the murder of David Boland have been released without charge today. A file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions as the investigation continues, said a garda spokesperson. David Boland, 34, was stabbed multiple times during an incident on Duke Street in Athy, in the early hours of Thursday 1 November. A total of four people have been arrested to date as...
Dublin City Council is set to spend €1.6 million on the removal of discarded chewing gum in public areas. The local authority is seeking tenders for a contract to remove gum from footpaths and pedestrianised zones throughout litter blackspots in its administrative area over the next three years. It expects to spend €1.6 million plus VAT on these services, according to tender documents. The huge cost of removing chewing gum from public areas comes despite r...
It's not the first incident that has caused delays in Dublin this morning. An Irish Rail service heading into Dublin faced a huge delay this morning after hitting a sheep. The 7.05am service from Sligo to Dublin's Connolly Station was left delayed for 45 minutes due to the incident. Passengers have been warned to expect some knock-on delays as a result. Irish Rail said: "07:05hrs Sligo/Connolly will be delayed up to 45mins arriving in Connolly due to the s...
Precarious work is causing hardship to workers and their families, and reinforcing inequality, insecurity and deprivation in the workforce, according to the latest research from the Think tank for Action on Social Change. The report, entitled "Precarious Work, Precarious Lives", notes that precarious work forces many to rely on social protection from the taxpayer to compensate for their irregular hours and income. It found 44% of Irish workers do not have...
A new study which looked at the lives of nine-year-olds shows poorer outcomes for children from lower socio-economic backgrounds. The Growing Up in Ireland research, carried out by the Economic and Social Research Institute, shows an improvement in the families ability to make ends meet since 2013, but found that not all families benefitted from the economic up-turn. The research was carried out on group of nine-year-olds who spent many of their early year...