Brexit will strengthen Ireland-US relations, says Irish ambassador
Ireland Brexit will strengthen Ireland-US relations, says Irish ambassador
Daniel Mulhall predicts Ireland will emerge as the main bridge between US and Europe
Brexit is likely to lead to a strengthening of the US-Irish bond and the emergence of Ireland as the main bridge between the US and Europe, Dublinâs ambassador to Washington DC has predicted.
The UKâs departure would leave Ireland as the only predominan tly English-speaking EU member, and a natural destination for US investors looking for a European base because of Irelandâs longstanding âspecial relationshipâ with Washington, Daniel Mulhall said.
Mulhall, a former Irish ambassador to the UK, said he found anxiety over Brexit had accompanied him from London to Washington.
âSince I arrived here last August, Iâve found that Iâve been asked about Brexit more often than anything else that Iâve had to deal with,â Mulhall said, adding that the greatest concerns he encountered were about the nature of the post-Brexit border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the impact of a hardened border on the Good Friday peace agreement.
The ambassador stressed that Ireland had no desire to take things away from Britain but would have little choice but to counterbalance the negative impact of Brexit by taking advantage of the upsides.
He listed the two main benefits brought to US-Irish relations by B rexit as Irelandâs greater appeal as a destination for investment, and an enhanced diplomatic role as Washingtonâs closest EU partner.
There are already 700 US firms with investments in Ireland, according to Mulhall, who added: âIn the future I would expect that US companies who feel a need to have a base within the European Union would see Ireland as a more attractive option because perhaps Britain may be less attractive on account of Brexit.
âThereâs also potential for greater political dialogue between our two countries [Ireland and the US] and especially in a context where Ireland will be the only English-speaking country and probably will be the country in the European Union after Brexit that has the closest and most intensive relationship with United States,â Mulhall said. âCertainly in terms of economic and cultural norms.â
Ireland plans to open new diplomatic missions in the US and bolster existing missions as part of a plan announced by the taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to double the countryâs global footprint by 2025.
âWe see ourselves as a global country, not so much an island behind an island at the edge of a continent, but rather an island at the centre of the world,â Varadkar told a Washington audience during a US visit in March, generally seen as a success in terms of developing a rapport with Donald Trump.
Mulhall said the coming diplomatic expansion would âensure that we take full advantage of the opportunities that exist in the United Statesâ.
More than 35 million Americans identify as having Irish heritage. The investments of 700 US companies in Ireland, employing 150,000 people, are balanced by those of roughly 500 Irish companies in the US, employing 100,000 Americans. Trade in goods and services is more or less equivalent in both directions.
Those figures are dwarfed by the US-UK economic relationship, in which each country is the biggest investor in the otherâs mar ket, with UK companies spending $480bn (Â£340bn) in the US, and employing 1.1 million Americans.Former Irish prime minister 'appalled' at state of British politics Read more
Ireland is looking to take over the mantle as Washingtonâs leading European interlocutor at a time of high transatlantic tensions over trade and foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East. The Trump administration is threatening secondary sanctions against European companies doing business with Iran. It has slapped steel and aluminium tariffs on the EU, which has responded with retaliatory tariffs on a list of US-made goods including Leviâs jeans, Harley-Davidson motorcycles and bourbon whiskey.
Ireland is most concerned about collateral damage caused by US sanctions against the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who was on the board of the Rusal aluminium company. Rusal owns a processing plant employing 450 people in Limerick, catering for more than 30% of Europe an demand.
Deripaska resigned from Rusalâs board in May but it is not yet clear whether that will shield the Limerick plant from the damaging impact of US sanctions, which have been deferred until October.
âWe do still retain a concern about the long-term fate of the company, which we are determined to do everything in our power to assist,â Mulhall said.
âWe would share the view thatâs pretty universal across the European Union that we need to make a special effort on both sides to avoid a downward movement of relations. We need to stand back and to recognise the things we have in common and to avoid becoming obsessed with the things that at the moment divide us.âTopics
- European Union
- US politics
- Share on Facebook
- Share on Twitter
- Share via Email
- Share on LinkedIn
- Share on Pinterest
- Share on Google+
- Share on WhatsApp
- Share on Messenger
- Reuse this content