UK-Irish deal on pensions on the cards
Pensioners in the UK and Ireland will keep special protections allowing them to claim the State benefit regardless of where they live in the two countries.
British and Irish ministers have agreed to work towards securing the long-standing rights allowing citizens to live and work in each others' countries.
A deal on retaining reciprocal rights can be done without involving the rest of the EU, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said.
He was speaking after he met in London with the UK Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Damien Green.
"We agreed to work together to update the arrangement for the Common Travel Area," he said.
The work will include working to secure reciprocal pension and welfare arrangements. It will make it easier for cross-border workers to make social welfare contributions, and receive benefits, regardless of which side they live or work on. It also means pensioners in the UK or Ireland have full access to State pensions.
Any deal that secures rights for the Irish in Britain that are not available to citizens of other EU members will be controversial across the rest of the Union.
But the special UK/Ireland relationship is provided for under Protocol 20 of the EU Treaties, the minister said.
More than 680,000 Irish-born people live in Britain and there are more than 110,000 nationals living in the Republic. There are also an estimated 14,500 cross-border commuters.