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Ireland William urges UK and Ireland to 'recommit to friendship' after Brexit tensions

23:35  04 march  2020
23:35  04 march  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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The Duke of Cambridge has called upon Ireland and the UK to work together post- Brexit in order to maintain their "unique and precious bond". As the Government negotiates post- Brexit legal treaties, he cautioned that relationships between people were often more important than those between states.

Prince William and Kate began their first official visit to Ireland for a post- Brexit charm offensive as they also laid a wreath reading 'May we never forget The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet with Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach of Ireland , and his partner Matt Barrett at the Government Buildings, Dublin

Simon Coveney, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge are posing for a picture: The royals attended a reception hosted by Ireland's deputy prime minister © Reuters The royals attended a reception hosted by Ireland's deputy prime minister

Prince William has called on the UK and Ireland to "recommit ourselves to the path of friendship and understanding" following tensions caused by Brexit.

The Duke of Cambridge was speaking at an event at the Museum of Literature in Dublin, hosted by Simon Coveney, Ireland's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, to celebrate UK-Irish relations on the second day of the Cambridges' first official tour of Ireland.

As a member of the Royal Family, Prince William is expected to stay politically neutral, but in his major speech of this tour he appeared to nod to the difficulties caused by Brexit negotiations and the importance of now working together to keep the relationship "strong".

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It was William ’s first official trip to the Republic of Ireland , nearly a decade after his grandmother Queen Elizabeth made history with the first visit by a Britain left the European Union on Jan. 31 after fraught, protracted negotiations, mainly held up by debate over its land border with the EU - between

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The duke said: "Of course, the changing relationship between the UK and the EU will require us to work together, to ensure that the relationship between Ireland and the UK remains just as strong."

He added: "Ladies and gentlemen, legal treaties are vital in underpinning the relationships between states but relationships between people are equally, if not more essential - especially between the people of our two countries whose lives, histories and futures are so deeply intertwined.

"I am confident that friendship, understanding and a shared vision for a peaceful and prosperous future will ensure that the unique and precious bond between our people is not broken."

a man and woman cutting a cake: The couple also helped prepare a meal at a charity on Wednesday © Reuters The couple also helped prepare a meal at a charity on Wednesday

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Speaking in personal terms, he promised the Royal Family would give their support, saying: "My family is determined to continue playing our part in protecting, preserving and strengthening that bond."

He also spoke of the Queen's fondness for Ireland, saying, "our relationship goes far beyond two countries that are simply neighbours. We are firm friends and equal partners - as my grandmother put it".

This visit to Ireland, on behalf of the UK government and the Foreign Office, is the first royal tour after Brexit.

William's speech can be seen as one of the clearest messages delivered by a member of the Royal Family about the importance of rebuilding relationships now that the UK has left the European Union.

Gallery: Prince William and Kate Middleton's visit to Ireland (Picture Services)

His words are also likely to be welcomed by his Irish hosts after nearly four years of difficult Brexit negotiations have caused tensions between the two countries, with disagreements over the border issue and some public feeling in Ireland that their concerns have been dismissed by their British neighbours.

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Emphasising how far Anglo-Irish relations have come over recent years, Prince William talked about the importance of remembering the lessons learnt from the peace process.

He said: "Growing up, I remember seeing the Troubles that took place, which affected so many people across the UK and Ireland.

"This explains why one of the truly profound moments for Catherine and me took place yesterday at the Garden of Remembrance.

"It was a reminder of the complexity of our shared history, and that as my grandmother said during her visit in 2011, 'our islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache and turbulence'.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge et al. standing in front of a building: The pair visited a farm in County Meath and took a walk to a nearby vcliff © Getty The pair visited a farm in County Meath and took a walk to a nearby vcliff

"But it was also a reminder about how far we have come. It is right that we continue to remember those who suffered as a consequence of our troubled past.

"And whilst many wrongs have been done, it is important that we are not bound by these."

Talking of how important it is that his generation never forgets, he added: "As we look ahead to some changes in our relationship, we must never forget how far we have come together in recent decades in transforming the relationships across our two islands...

"It is vital that people of my generation, and generations to come, never take for granted the progress we have made together. We must recommit ourselves to the path of friendship and understanding."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent the day mixing the important diplomatic duties with their key charitable interests.

They visited Jigsaw, a mental health charity that helps young people across Ireland, had a cookery lesson with an organisation called Extern that helps vulnerable young adults, went to a farm in County Meath to learn about sustainable farming, and took a walk at Howth Cliff - taking in the spectacular views across the Irish Sea to the UK.

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