SET up offices in every European capital to prepare for independent Scotland's re-entry into the EU, a leading Irish politician has urged the Scottish Government.

Neale Richmond TD, Fine Gael European Affairs spokesman and ex-chair of the Dail's Brexit committee, says "the mood has clearly changed in European circles" to the question of Scottish membership.

Appearing in the second episode of the European Conversations podcast for the European Movement in Scotland, Richmond says Scottish re-entry would be "certainly a lot easier" than in 2014 as a result of Brexit.

He said there would be "an appetite" for a newly-sovereign Scotland to rejoin the bloc, particularly "from an Irish perspective".

And he said the Scottish Government should work to open offices in all 27 EU states as a prelude to Scotland's rejoining the EU.

Speaking to Kirsty Hughes, Richmond said: "We have a Scottish Government office here in Dublin within the British Embassy.

"The growing number of Scottish offices, be they in Brussels to the EU, be they in Berlin, Paris, that is absolutely the way to go.

"To have a Scottish Government representatin in each of the 27 member states should be a very realistic short-term goal for the Scottish Government to give that very distinct Scottish opinion.

"When we look at some of the Scottish Government's policies, particularly when it comes to freedom of movement and immigration, they're quite different to the current British administration.

"Seeing that, and seeing Scotland's outward-looking approach... we need to see the very key bilateral ties."

He went on: "A lot of work has been started by the Scottish Government but it really needs to be accelerated in the post-Brexit period."

Richmond also suggests Scotland's current budget deficit would not be an insurmountable obstacle to rejoining and a transitional phase could be agreed as with Croatia – provided the Scottish Government can put together a credible plan for getting the deficit in line with EU rules.