Tag Archives: Republic of Ireland

UK-Republic of Ireland freedom of movement

The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland concluded a deal to ensure their citizens will retain the right to live and work in each other’s countries after Britain exits from the EU.

The agreement secures the continuation of the Common Travel Area (CTA) that has been in place since 1922, when 26 of Ireland’s 32 counties left the United Kingdom to form an independent state.

Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding signed May 8, free movement of people between Britain and the Republic of Ireland, and mutual access for citizens to social security, health and education will continue to function after Brexit.

Image: Dublin Bridge

EU drafts Irish border solutions to save Brexit deal

European Unionstands ready to examine whether any further assurance can be provided” to the UK over the Irish border in Article 50 Agreement between the EU27 and the Britain.

The EU institutions are preparing a draft of a document the for British Prime Minister Theresa May  to facilitate  the divided Westminster to approve their Brexit deal, underlining said any such clarifications would not “change or contradict” the Agreement.

The 27 EU member-states have not reached consent on large parts of the draft text and the European diplomats presume the draft will be a subject of changes. The part of the text on the EU’s readiness to provide more assurances to the UK is under scrutiny of the Irish.

There is an opinion among the  European diplomats that Theresa May is seeking to terminate the Irish backstop after three years of transitional period, while Irish are insisting  on an agreement without an expiration date, but with a possibility to be replaced by another negotiated deal in the future, however the will be no situation of a political vacuum in this case.

Image above: illustration, Michel Barnier in Europa building.

Irish border amendment proposal

Three lawmakers loyal to Prime Minister Theresa May have proposed new Brexit safeguards to offer the Westminster  on the issue of Northern Ireland in a bid to help the leader to win a crucial vote approving the government’s Article 50 deal.

May is struggling to get her Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union through Parliament in a vote on December 11 that will shape the UK departure from the bloc and the Prime Minister’s future as a leader.

The main vote is on a motion stating that lawmakers in the 650-seat House of Commons approve the Brexit deal, however lawmakers can also try to amend the text in the process.

The latest amendment addresses the backstop, an element of the  deal that has disappointed lawmakers in May’s own party and her allies in Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). It is intended to ensure there is no return to a hard border between British Northern Ireland and EU member-state Ireland.

Critics say however it could leave Britain forced to accept EU regulations indefinitely, or it will regard Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Laura Kuenssberg, theBBC ’s political editor published in her Twitter micro blog a photo of a signed amendment which would give Parliament a vote on whether the UK should enter the backstop period, or whether an extension to the implementation period should be sought instead.

At present the forecasts are pessimistic, indicating that May would lose the vote.

Irish voted to legalize abortion

In a historic victory the Republic of Ireland has voted to effectively legalize abortion, removing a clause in the constitution that had been described by the UN as a violation of human rights.

The Irish electorate voted 1,429,981 to 723,632 in favor of repealing the Eighth Amendment of the country’s constitution.

The result removes the equal right to life of the unborn and mother from the constitution. The conservative 1983 law had effectively banned all abortions, leading to thousands of Irish women travelling abroad to countries such as the UK to undergo the procedure.

The vote came as a total defeat of anti-abortion campaigners, who have already assessed the referendum results as a “tragedy of historic proportions”; they also quoted the Vatican, pointing out that while giving right to a women, the abortion denies an unborn child his or her “most basic right, to life itself.”

UK and Ireland face similar Brexit trade challenges

he United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland face similar trade-related exposures to Brexit a new report by academic think tank The UK in a Changing Europe finds.

The report – Brexit and the island of Ireland – finds Brexit trade-related exposure of the UK varies between 9.8% to 16.3%; in the Republic of Ireland it is 10.12-10.13%. UK is 4.6 times more exposed to Brexit than the rest of the EU; the Republic of Ireland is 3.8 times more exposed to Brexit than the EU; and Northern Ireland is 4.4 times more exposed than the rest of the EU.

 The 10 chapter report is being launched on the day of The UK in a Changing Europe’s Brexit and the island of Ireland conference in which keynote speakers are Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP and The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP. Other speakers include the former prime minster of Ireland John Bruton, Lord Bew, Gerald Angley from the Embassy of Ireland, Great Britain, Catherine Moroney, head of business banking at AIB and Lord Paddy Ashdown.

The report finds the peace process and Good Friday Agreement are absolutely critical in the Brexit negotiations. Brexit will unsettle many of the assumptions of the peace process around British and Irish identity and may exacerbate divisions. National identity may become a signifier not only of national difference but also of those who are EU citizens and those who are not.

 One of the report’s authors argues that the UK can deliver on the promise of no hard border in Ireland without remaining in the EU customs union or inventing new and complex schemes involving the tracking of individual consignments to their final destination.

 Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research, the report finds the proportion of people in Northern Ireland wanting to Remain has risen since the 2016 referendum. 69% would vote Remain if there was another referendum compared to the 56% who voted Remain at the time of the referendum.

 Professor Anand Menon (pictured), director The UK in a Changing Europe, said: “This report shows that, whatever the outcome of Brexit, it will impact significantly, and in a number of different ways, on the island of Ireland. It is therefore incumbent upon all parties in the negotiations to deal with the issues with the due care, attention, sensitivity, respect and honesty.”

Taoiseach “surprised and disappointed”

The leader of Republic of Ireland is “surprised and disappointed” that the British government was unable to conclude a deal Dublin believed had been agreed on the future of the Northern Ireland border after Brexit, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Monday.

“We had an agreement this morning. We’re disappointed and surprised to hear that agreement cannot be concluded today but we’re happy to give the UK government more time, if it needs it, so we can conclude it in the coming days,” Varadkar told a news briefing in Dublin, commenting of events taking place in Brussels, where Prime minister Theresa May had an exchange of views with the head of European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

Varadkar confirmed his position was unequivocal and Dublin would accept changes to the agreed text only if the essence remained.