Charles hails UK and Ireland’s ‘new path to prosperity and security’

The Prince of Wales (centre) and the Duchess of Cornwall (right) meet Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney (back) and Lord Mayor of Cork Tony Fitzgerald (left) during a visit to the English Market in Cork
The Prince of Wales (centre) and the Duchess of Cornwall (right) meet Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney (back) and Lord Mayor of Cork Tony Fitzgerald (left) during a visit to the English Market in Cork

The Prince of Wales has said the good relations the UK and Ireland have enjoyed in recent years will survive as the two nations resolve “shared challenges”.

Charles made the prediction in a speech to mark his visit to Ireland, and is likely to be interpreted by commentators as partly referring to the Brexit problem of the Northern Ireland and Republic border.

The 2011 visit by the Queen to Ireland was seen as a watershed moment in Anglo-Irish relations, ushering in closer ties between the two nations as they reconciled their difficult shared histories.

But the Brexit issue of how to create a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is proving a major stumbling block to Britain leaving the EU.

There are concerns that, if a hard border with infrastructure and guards returns, it could ultimately threaten the peace the north has enjoyed following the Good Friday Agreement.

Charles, who was joined by the Duchess of Cornwall, is making his fourth successive visit to Ireland and said of relations between the UK and the Republic: “With reconciliation and understanding as our guides, we have found a new path to shared prosperity and security, and we are determined that we must never lose our way again.

“If I may say so, this is precisely why I have felt it of such importance that we should keep coming to Ireland – to demonstrate, in whatever small way we can, just how vital and valuable the ties between our countries are to us all.”

Speaking at Cork City Hall to an audience of local politicians, business people and civic leaders, the prince said: “On each visit we have met so many unforgettable people who are doing such noteworthy things to strengthen that relationship.

“I therefore have nothing but the greatest confidence that the friendship, collaboration and mutual understanding that Ireland and the United Kingdom have enjoyed over recent years will endure, as we work together to find solutions to shared challenges and as our relationship evolves in the months and years ahead.”

Charles and Camilla began their visit to Cork by visiting the city’s famous English Market.

Pat O’Connell, the owner of a fish stall, said the welcome they received was evidence of how far relations between the UK and Ireland have improved.