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28 November 2016, 05:34
Nicola Sturgeon is to meet business and political leaders in Dublin as she looks to strengthen links between Scotland and Ireland in the wake of the Brexit vote.
Scotland's First Minister will visit Dublin over two days this week where she will address the Irish Parliament, meet leading chief executives and collect an honorary patronage from Trinity College.
Ms Sturgeon will also meet President Michael D Higgins and Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan to discuss continued co-operation between Scotland and Ireland.
It follows a meeting with Irish premier Enda Kenny and other devolved leaders at the British Irish Council last week.
The First Minister wants to expand business, cultural and political links between Scotland and Ireland under plans to strengthen relationships with EU countries.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Ms Sturgeon said: "Scotland and Ireland have a long history of co-operation based on our shared values, close historic and cultural ties and the deep links between our people.
"The relationship between Scotland and Ireland is more important than ever. I look forward to meeting with political and businesses leaders to discuss how we can work together to protect and strengthen our shared interests.
"I'll be stressing the Scottish Government's commitment to the principle of European solidarity and the benefits Scotland receives from membership of the European Single Market.
"Given the close proximity of our countries, Ireland is a strategic partner for Scotland. The opening of a Scottish Government Innovation and Investment hub earlier this year demonstrates the value we put on this relationship.
"Our hub is working on a range of issues including economic development, strengthening links on research and innovation, cooperation on energy and the development of renewable technologies and supporting government to government links.
"During my visit to Ireland, I look forward to further developing these areas of common interest to ensure deeper collaboration between our governments to deliver greater economic prosperity for both countries.''
Ms Sturgeon is to visit SSE Dublin headquarters on Monday before touring Trinity College where she is to receive an honorary patronage from the Philosophical Society and talk to students.
On Tuesday she will attend a business breakfast with 120 chief executives, before addressing the upper house of the Irish Parliament.