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20 March 2020 | International & Trade

CONSULTATION RESPONSE: Irish-Scottish Relations


Strategic Review of Irish-Scottish Relations

The Scottish Government and the Government of Ireland are conducting an unprecedented joint review of the relationship between Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

Our response to a joint consultation as part of this review notes that relations between Scotland and Ireland are important for our respective societies and economies. From diaspora, family and culture to business, trade and academia, the social, economic and political links between us are deep, historic and strong.

An estimated 1.5 million people in Scotland have Irish heritage. Over 25,000 Irish nationals live in Scotland. Over 1,800 Irish students study at Scottish universities every year.

Ireland is Scotland’s 5th largest export market worth £1.5 billion (or 4.5% of our total exports). It is increasingly important that the Scotland-Ireland economic relationship is strengthened, particularly in the context of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Our response highlights that the key opportunities for the Scottish Government to focus on to maximise the Scotland-Ireland relationship or work with the Government of Ireland – alongside the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive – are:

  • Trade: Supporting businesses to deliver the ambitions of the Scottish Government’s Export Growth Plan, which identifies Ireland as a key target market for growth.
  • Infrastructure: Increasing connectivity, trade and investment between Scotland and Ireland by investing in the upgrade, resilience and expansion of key road, rail and ferry infrastructure in, to and from South West Scotland.
  • Clean Growth: Scottish academia and industry can develop, deploy and internationalise Clean Growth technologies, innovations, expertise and partnerships for export or exchange, including with partners in Ireland, in the transition to net-zero.
  • Diaspora: Scotland can learn from Ireland’s mature and highly successful efforts to engage with and leverage its global diaspora to increase tourism, trade and investment.

You can download our response in full below.