Ireland and UK not in sync regarding Covid-19, says Micheál Martin

ireland
Ireland And Uk Not In Sync Regarding Covid-19, Says Micheál Martin
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Digital Desk staff

The Taoiseach says Ireland and the UK's approach to Covid-19 is not exactly 'harmonious' after a meeting with Boris Johnson.

Micheál Martin and the British Prime Minister met at Hillsborough Castle in Co Down this afternoon, for the first time since Martin became Taoiseach.

The Taoiseach says the two countries are not exactly in sync regarding Covid, but he says many European countries are not.

"I think there was a mutual understanding of where we are both coming from here. There was also a shared concern about the impact of Covid," he said.

The Taoiseach also said while they were not "harmonious" or "synergistic" in terms of their travel approach around Covid, they did relate over their experience of dealing with the virus.

It was Mr Johnson’s first visit to Northern Ireland since Stormont powersharing was restored in January.

Mr Johnson said: “I had the honour of meeting the Taoiseach several years ago. I am very pleased to develop our friendship and relationship now.”

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It was his first visit since the coronavirus pandemic struck and there have been calls for closer collaboration between Ireland and Britain to tackle the threat.

Mr Johnson added: “It’s great to see you Taoiseach, it’s great to be here in Northern Ireland, and we look forward to developing our relationship in all sorts of ways – east-west, north-south, you name it.”

Meanwhile, the Taoisech said the pair would enjoy a warm working relationship.

“It is important for us both in terms of the British-Irish relationship which has been the cornerstone of much progress on the island of Ireland and between our two countries for well over two to three decades, and we want to maintain that,” he said.

“It is challenging times ahead with Covid, Brexit, all of that."

The Fianna Fail leader said it was particularly fitting the engagement was taking place so soon after the death of former SDLP leader John Hume.

“We remember John at moments like this because he did so much to facilitate these kind of meetings and make them much more regular in the normal course of events,” he said.

Shortly after arriving at the castle, the Taoiseach joined the Prime Minister for a walk in the restored grounds of the royal residence and tourist attraction in an affluent village near Belfast.

Earlier Mr Johnson met Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill.

Ms O'Neill said the meeting between them was constructive:

"We have had a fairly good conversation across a range of issues, not least the issue of Covid-19 and the response to all of that.

"We talked about the fact that no one can predict what is going to come at it us in the winter."

She said with regards to a British-Irish council meeting around Covid-19, it was well received by Boris Johnson.

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