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Ireland must stay close to both the UK and Europe. This is the crux of the challenge facing Ireland as the UK attempts to renegotiate its position in the European Union. The relationship between Ireland and the UK has never been better, but David Cameron’s January 2013 speech on Europe heralds a long period of uncertainty for Ireland and the EU. The uncertainty surrounding the UK’s place in Europe is further intensified by the Scottish vote on independence in 2014.
Given that it stands to be one of the biggest losers from a UK withdrawal, it is crucial that Ireland adopts a far-sighted and well-balanced strategy for dealing with the possible implications. This paper assesses Ireland’s relationship with the UK and the EU in the context of the UK’s changing attitude to Europe. It presents a range of options and outlines how best Ireland can further its long-term strategic interests.