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Cross-border relations remain a ‘frosty peace’

The Taoiseach has said there is a need for people to be “less partisan” over cross-border relationships after he was criticised for saying young people in the Republic know more about Berlin than Belfast.

Speaking to RTÉ News, Simon Harris said he was “a bit taken aback” by criticism over his comments yesterday, saying the reality is that while significant progress has been made, cross-border relations remain a “frosty peace”.

The Taoiseach repeated his view that people on both sides of the border “need to get to know each other better”, and said in his view it is “always a little irritating when one line is taken out of context”.

He said the point he made on Monday was “logical”, and said one example of this is the reduction in students from the Republic studying north of the border and vice versa.

Separately, the Taoiseach said that there will be a “significant” €3 million increase in road safety public awareness campaigns in the coming weeks to address “killer behaviour” on Irish roads.

Mr Harris said that he met with the Road Safety Authority yesterday to discuss the deaths of 63 people on roads so far this year – half of whom were under the age of 30.

He said that while all sections of society need to help address the issue, and that garda road safety numbers must increase, additional funding for public safety campaigns must be provided.

He said he will chair a ministerial committee on the issue in the next two weeks.

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