Brexit presents unprecedented challenges for Ireland given our economic, political and historical relationship with the UK. Brexit is a British government policy and even though Ireland and the EU regret the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, we respect it and accept that it is a reality.
The UK is leaving the EU and some things are going to change. We know what some of that change looks like and the Government has been preparing for change since before the UK voted to leave, with a particular focus on the areas where the Government has direct responsibility and on measures that need to be taken on an East-West basis. Other changes will be tackled EU-wide, with the strength and resources of the 27 remaining Members of the EU.
As negotiations are still ongoing, we don’t know exactly what change Brexit will bring in all areas. However Ireland is getting ready for all possible scenarios and extensive work is taking place across Government and its agencies. We are also continuing our work to achieve the best possible outcome for Ireland in the Negotiations.
Even though there is currently some uncertainty, it is important to understand that many things will stay the same after Brexit.
Under the Common Travel Area (CTA), Irish and British citizens move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and entitlements including access to employment, healthcare, education, social benefits, and the right to vote in certain elections. The Common Travel Area pre-dates Irish and UK membership of the EU and is not dependent on it. Detailed work is at an advanced stage, both at home and bilaterally between Ireland and the UK, to ensure that all necessary provisions are made in both jurisdictions so that the CTA continues to function effectively. Both the Government of Ireland and the UK Government have committed to maintaining the CTA in all scenarios. The CTA has also been recognised in the negotiations and there is agreement in the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland that Ireland and the UK may “continue to make arrangements between themselves relating to the movement of persons between their territories”.
The EU is a home which we have helped to build and EU membership has been good for Ireland. The UK has chosen leave the EU and consequently the certainty and clarity that the comprehensive EU framework of rules and regulations provides for its members but Ireland will continue to benefit from the stability of our EU membership. Irish citizens can continue to live and work freely in any EU Member State. Students in Irish institutions can access Erasmus+ and the opportunities it offers to study in the EU. Irish residents travelling in the EU don’t pay additional mobile phone roaming charges and have access to the European Health Insurance Card, which provides access to care for all residents of the EU if they fall sick or have an accident while travelling in the EU. These are just a few examples of EU benefits that affect almost all aspects of our daily lives, many of them invisible despite their advantages.
The Government is very conscious of the specific concerns of Irish citizens in Northern Ireland. The Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland that has been endorsed by the European Council confirms that Irish citizens in Northern Ireland, as Union citizens, continue to enjoy access to EU rights, opportunities and benefits. The Government will continue to proactively engage to ensure that people in Northern Ireland continue to enjoy access to EU rights, opportunities, and benefits in to the future.
The Government will continue to provide information to citizens as negotiations progress and this section of the website will be regularly updated on issues that might affect you as a result of Brexit.