Government papers: Stormont civil servants urged to build friendships with Dublin

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In 1977, Stormont civil servants were asked to build friendly relations with their southern counterparts with details of routine meetings recorded and passed to the Secretary of State.

A confidential April 1977 memo from AJ Robinson, Private Secretary in the Department of Finance, said that the central secretariat of the Civil Service had asked “that senior staff be encouraged to maintain, and where possible, improve contacts with their counterparts in the Republic”.

It added that when in Dublin they should contact the British Embassy prior to any “particularly important or unusual meetings”, and “should be encouraged to pay friendly calls to the embassy if they are attending meetings in Dublin”.

The file wherein such visits are recorded, which continues up to 1983, contains details of mostly mundane meetings between officials about issues such as drainage and health matters.