Britain’s House of Lords is weighing in on Ireland’s plight - or what it believes it will be post-Brexit.
The British parliament’s upper house believes that Ireland and the British government should negotiate a bilateral agreement which could then be agreed by the European Union ahead of the UK leaving the EU.
The recommendation comes from a House of Lords committee, which has called Brexit a huge challenge for Ireland.
The 80-page report also notes that any “potential negative impact of Brexit will probably be more significant for Ireland than for any other Member State.”
The report recommends power over freedom of movement to EU nationals living in Northern Ireland should be devolved to Stormont.
It says that any treaty between Ireland and Britain in the run-up to Brexit should also maintain the Common Travel Area between Britain and Ireland, and the right of free movement within the area for UK and Irish citizens.
Any final agreement between the two countries would need to be ratified by the EU as part of final negotiations on the UK’s departure from the EU.
The committee also concluded that any need for customs checks after Brexit would make the open land border in Ireland, as it currently stands, impossible to retain.
The committee also recommended retention of the right to Irish (and therefore EU) citizenship for the people of Northern Ireland.
It recommended that both governments reaffirm their commitment to the Good Friday Agreement and continued support for cross-border projects and that there should be continued access to EU funding for cross-border projects.
The committee warned that failure to pay attention to the consequences of Brexit for Ireland risked undermining “the efforts of all those who have worked so hard for peace and good relations across these islands.”
It added: “The key aspects of that agreements should include… providing the Northern Ireland Executive with the right to make decisions about the free movement of EU nationals within its jurisdiction.”
The report highlights the “unique situation” that Northern Ireland finds itself in.
“Several of our witnesses reflected on whether the EU should recognize, not only the unique situation of Northern Ireland, but also the circumstances on the island of Ireland as a whole,” it states.
“Linked to this was the question of whether, given the unique nature of the UK-Irish relationship, the UK and Irish governments should seek some form of bilateral arrangement, in addition to any agreement at EU level.”
This article appears courtesy of the Irish Echo. For more, visit their website here.