Monday 22 January 2018

Don't forget about us: The six things Ireland wants from a Brexit deal

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is banking on the support of Europe's most powerful politician, Angela Merkel, as Ireland battles to survive the collateral damage from Brexit.

Here are the six things Ireland are looking for as part of the deal:

1. Prevent hard borders being reintroduced

The Irish government and the Northern Ireland Executive agree that the return of border posts would have a negative impact on the economy, could stoke tensions and damage the peace process, and would be a massive drain on Garda and PSNI resources.

2. Protect €1bn of weekly trade across the Irish Sea

Any deal done on trade will have to be agreed at an EU level, meaning Ireland will be very much siding with Britain on this issue.

Some countries may seek to lock the UK out of the free market but Ireland would like it to get a tariff-free deal that continues the free movement of goods and services.

3. Preservation of the Common Travel Area

People travelling from Ireland to the UK are subject to minimal checks but questions have been raised about how this arrangement will exist post- Brexit given focus on immigration in the referendum debates.

4. Work rights for Irish citizens in the UK

Under EU rules, Irish people can easily live and work in Britain but this is now under threat. Ireland wants a special deal on this issue given our shared history.

5. Recognition of Ireland’s relationship with Britain

We are neighbours who after years of conflict recently became good friends.

Neither London nor Dublin wants the referendum fallout to set back relations.

The key argument here will be that both governments are custodians of the Good Friday Agreement and must therefore work closely together, despite Britain’s absence from the EU.

6. Keep Europe as united as possible

There is a political consensus among the main parties that Ireland should remain in the EU. The Taoiseach has said this is “profoundly in our national interest”. But that value will diminish if other countries follow Britain out.

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