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Brexit challenge needs new bilateral UK/Ireland agreement

12 December 2016

The House of Lords European Union Committee publishes its report calling on all parties to the forthcoming Brexit negotiations, including the UK Government and the EU institutions, to give "official recognition to the special, unique nature of UK-Irish relations".


Following the referendum of 23 June 2016, the Committee outlines the many economic, political, legal and institutional challenges of Brexit for Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and for UK-Irish relations as a whole.

Key findings

The Committee concluded that any negative impact of Brexit on the UK economy is likely to be replicated, or even magnified, for the Irish economy. The Committee agreed that the unique nature of UK-Irish relations requires a unique solution, and calls on the UK and Irish Governments to negotiate a draft bilateral agreement, incorporating the views and interests of the Northern Ireland Executive, which would then need to be agreed by the EU as part of the final Brexit negotiations, with key aspects including:

  • Continuation of the current open land border between the UK and Ireland
  • Maintenance of the Common Travel Area, the right of free movement within it for UK and Irish citizens, and their right to reside and work in both countries.
  • Retention of the right to Irish (and therefore EU) citizenship for the people of Northern Ireland.
  • A customs and trade arrangement between the UK and Ireland if the UK leaves the customs union.
  • Reaffirmation by both Governments of their commitment to the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and continued support for cross-border cooperation.

Further information

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