Monday 16 September 2019

‘No one wants to see fences on the border,’ Dutch king tells Ireland

Raising a toast during the banquet. Photo: Frank van Beek via HH

Dutch king Willem-Alexander has told a state banquet in Ireland that the Netherlands is well aware of the far-reaching implications of Brexit for Ireland.

The king and queen Maxima are on a three day visit to Ireland and the king made the speech at a banquet hosted by the country’s president Michael Higgins.

‘The UK’s decision [to leave the EU] is something that Ireland and the Netherlands both regret and respect. It also compels us to work together to safeguard the things we value most dearly,’ the king said in his address.

Ireland, the UK and the European Union are the guardians of the Good Friday Agreement, the king said. ‘The spectres of the past cannot be allowed to return. No one wants to revisit the era of the Troubles. No one wants to see fences on the border.’

The Netherlands, he said, is well aware of the far-reaching implications of Brexit for Ireland and for everyone on the island. The Netherlands will continue working with the country and ‘all our partners in Europe on solutions that safeguard the interests of both Ireland and Europe’.

The visit, accompanied by a trade mission aimed at enhancing the potential for economic cooperation between the Netherlands and Ireland, ends on Friday in Cork.

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