The Scottish & Irish governments released a joint consultation on Scotgov’s Citizen Space this week, called ‘Strategic Review of Irish-Scottish Relations’.

A joint op-ed, published in the Examiner and the Scotman, says of the Review:

Scotland and Ireland have long been neighbours and friends, from our historic Celtic roots to contemporary links in business, education, culture and beyond….[our] continued political engagement has seen relationships flourish across political, cultural and trade fields.

After more than two decades, and in the changing context of Brexit, it is timely to review our relationship.

It’s exciting to us for a number of reasons, not least because we’re the type of people who genuinely get excited about consultations.

It’s always cool to see large-scale consultations run on Citizen Space because it really shows off what the platform can do. The Scottish Government’s first ever consultation, back in 2012, related to the Scottish Independence Referendum, since which time Citizen Space has become loads more powerful and generally better. It’s optimal for this type of thing: it’s able to handle large volumes of responses and for site admins to be able to analyse them with ease. It’s also got watertight security (we adhere to GDPR data protection standards and will continue to do so after Brexit) and accessibility standards, which is essential as the two countries may well have differing legislation on these points post-Brexit, when GDPR won’t apply to Scotland any more.

We’ve had multi-national consultations in the past, but they’re certainly uncommon. Countries work together all the time but they don’t often consult together. It’s really interesting (and also great) that Scotland and Ireland have chosen to involve the public in their international relations on this occasion. It’s probably quite tricky to orchestrate but the Scottish & Irish governments have done this well. The questionnaire doesn’t delve into any specific policies or legislation; rather, it’s seeking broad-level opinions on the general direction of the two countries’ relationship.

I predict this won’t be the last exercise of its kind that we see arising as a result of/catalysed by Brexit (more on this here), so watch this space.

I’ll sign off with another quote from the op-ed cited above.

Our approach is encapsulated in the word dual. In the Gaelic of Scotland and Ireland, dual means a strand, to twine; a concept of Scottish-Irish interconnectedness.

To take part in the questionnaire, you can do so here.

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