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Harris and Starmer Pledge to Reset Ireland-UK Relations, Plan Meeting at Downing Street on July 17

Taoiseach Simon Harris spoke with newly appointed UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer, emphasizing the significance of a strong, constructive relationship between Ireland and the UK. During their phone conversation, Harris congratulated Starmer on his election victory and both leaders agreed on the necessity of resetting Anglo-Irish relations.

Harris expressed his eagerness to engage vigorously in fostering this relationship and accepted an invitation to visit Downing Street on July 17.

Both leaders highlighted their commitment to strengthening bilateral ties and discussed the restoration of Northern Ireland’s political institutions and related legacy issues. Harris welcomed Hilary Benn’s appointment as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

The conversation underscored their mutual agreement that closer cooperation and regular engagement between Dublin and London were essential, marking the beginning of their collaborative efforts.

Taoiseach Simon Harris

Simon Harris

Simon Harris sees the recent UK general election as a pivotal opportunity to mend and enhance relations between Ireland and the UK, especially in a post-Brexit context. He stressed the importance of early engagement to build strong administrative connections across the Irish Sea.

Harris had been preparing for this moment and expressed his readiness to initiate discussions aimed at fostering positive bilateral relationships.

Anglo-Irish relations have faced challenges in recent years, notably due to Brexit negotiations and the British government’s Legacy Act, which affected historical inquests and Troubles-era cases. Tensions also arose over asylum seekers, with the Irish government criticizing the UK’s handling of the situation. Despite these issues, both nations are now seeking to move forward and resolve past differences.

Keir Starmer’s election as the first Labour leader to unseat a Conservative government since 1997 signifies a potential shift in UK politics. Starmer, a former barrister and Director of Public Prosecutions, emphasizes his working-class roots and commitment to change.

Meanwhile, Simon Harris, having recently succeeded Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach, is poised to leverage this political change to enhance Ireland-UK relations and address longstanding issues collaboratively.

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