EU Affairs Committee launches key report on ‘UK-EU Future Relationship: Implications for Ireland’

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on European Union Affairs today published its Report, UK-EU Future Relationship: Implications for Ireland.

23rd June 2015

The report outlines the facts and arguments presented to the Joint Committee during its hearings on the possible implications of a UK exit from the EU for Ireland.  It also makes a number of recommendations about how best to secure Ireland’s strategic interests.

Some of the report’s recommendations include:

• That the Irish Government is involved from the outset in all negotiations on the UK relationship with the EU, as the UK’s membership of the EU is an issue of vital national interest to Ireland.
• That any negotiated ‘exit or reform package’ for the UK reflects Ireland’s special status of the Irish/UK relationship and that all existing bilateral  arrangements between Ireland and the UK are maintained including citizenship arrangements, unrestricted travel and trade arrangements and unhindered borders.
• The Irish government legitimately has a voice in relation to the future of Northern Ireland and it must feature in EU negotiations with the UK.
• The Irish government engage immediately with the UK government to protect the existing Common Travel Area, as the introduction of any restrictions on the right of the free movement of people may have a significant negative impact on the operation of the CTA between the UK and Ireland.

Committee Chair, Dominic Hannigan, TD, said: “As Chairman of the Joint Committee on European Union Affairs, I and my colleagues believe that the upcoming UK referendum on EU membership is of vital importance to Ireland. The prospect of the UK leaving the EU is a very real one and the Report we launched today emphasises the importance of Ireland being engaged on this issue from the very beginning.”

“While the Joint Committee respects utterly the right of the British people to decide whether or not to remain in the EU, our Report recommends that the Irish Government engages with our UK and EU colleagues on this issue in order to reflect the special relationship that exists between the UK and Ireland. The Report concludes that that an EU without the UK weakens Ireland and Europe.”

“The strength of this Report lies in the diversity of opinion heard by the Committee from our many contributors, as well as in the high level of knowledge and expertise of the witnesses. The Committee heard from UK Parliamentarians from the House of Commons and the House of Lords; experts and academics and numerous representative groups. A Committee delegation also undertook a fact-finding visit to London in March, facilitated by the Irish Ambassador.”

“We as a Committee are recommending that the Irish government seek involvement in pre-referendum discussions on any new terms the UK might be offered, as well as in post-referendum negotiations, should Britain opt to leave the EU. The Committee considers the status of the UK’s membership with the EU, and any change in that status, to be of such importance to Ireland that tomorrow, a delegation from our Committee will be at the Irish Embassy in London to present the Report.”

“I would like to thank all those who appeared before the Joint Committee during the course of our hearings and all those who met with the Committee delegation in London. We are particularly grateful to Ambassador Mulhall and his team for their assistance.”

Acces Report here

ENDS

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Committee Membership
Chairman: Dominic Hannigan, TD (Labour)

Deputies:     
Eric Byrne (Labour);  Seán Crowe (Sinn Féin); Timmy Dooley (Fianna Fail); Bernard J. Durkan (Fine Gael); John Halligan (Independent); Seán Kyne (Fine Gael); Derek Keating (Fine Gael); Joe O’Reilly (Fine Gael)

Senators:     
Colm Burke (Fine Gael); Aideen Hayden (Labour); Terry Leyden     (Fianna Fáil); Catherine Noone (Fine Gael); Kathryn Reilly (Sinn Féin)