Nicola Sturgeon visits Dublin to boost Scotland-Ireland links

Nicola Sturgeon wants to expand business, cultural and political links between Scotland and Ireland under plans to strengthen relationships with other countries in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Nicola Sturgeon alongside Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a press conference during a last week's British-Irish Council Summit meeting . Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Scotland’s First Minister will visit Dublin on Monday to meet business leaders and discuss investment plans.

She is to address 120 chief executives at Irish business organisation Ibec and will stress that “Scotland is open for business”.

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Last week the leaders of the UK’s three devolved administrations met with Irish premier Enda Kenny and a number of UK Government ministers at the British Irish Council.

Top of the agenda was how the UK could maintain access to the European Single Market post-Brexit if it denied freedom of movement to EU citizens.

Ms Sturgeon has said proposals aimed at keeping Scotland in the single market will be published in the coming weeks with a Norway-style model and membership of the European Free Trade Association options under consideration.

During the trip to Dublin, the First Minister will also visit the Scottish Government’s Investment and Innovation Hub in the city.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The business, academic, cultural and political links between Scotland and Ireland are well established and we want to strengthen these even further.

“Scottish exports to Ireland are worth £1.125 billion and Irish investment into Scotland currently supports more than 6,000 jobs.

“It’s important to get across to our European partners, such as Ireland, that Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and that we are doing everything we can to protect our relationship with Europe.

“I want companies in Ireland to know that Scotland remains open for business and will continue to be an attractive place to invest. I will be asking the delegates at Ibec to work with the Hub and to come to Scotland to see what we have to offer.

“A number of new Scottish investment wins have been landed this year and through the strong network the hub continues to develop with Irish-based investors - further projects are in the pipeline.

“Ireland has always been and will continue to be a key economic partner for Scotland. It is even more important than ever that our two countries work together for the benefit of both our nations.”

The hub was set up nearly a year ago to build on collaborative work between Scottish and Irish companies and others are to be set up across Europe to enhance the Scottish Government’s presence as Brexit negotiations take place