Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Questions (115)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

115. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which the situation in the aftermath of Brexit can be best contained to achieve maximum benefit from an Irish perspective on the island of Ireland, north and south; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25576/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Extensive Brexit preparedness and contingency planning has been undertaken across Government. In particular, since December 2018, planning for a no deal Brexit has been prioritised. Addressing the challenges of a no deal Brexit would require responses at an EU level, by Government, and by businesses and affected sectors.

Throughout the Brexit process, Ireland and the EU have been at one in our determination to do all we can, deal or no deal, to protect the peace process and to avoid a hard border. The Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland which was agreed as part of the Withdrawal Agreement underpins, in a dynamic way, continuing North-South cooperation and the all-island economy as well as recognising the Common Travel Area.

On 8 May the Irish and British governments entered into a Memorandum of Understanding reaffirming our joint commitment to the Common Travel Area, and to maintaining this longstanding reciprocal arrangement under which Irish and British citizens can live, work, study, and access healthcare, social security and public services in each other’s jurisdictions.

In general, managing a no deal Brexit would be an exercise in damage limitation, and without a Withdrawal Agreement, avoiding a hard border would become more complex and challenging. It would not be possible in such a scenario to maintain the current seamless arrangements between the EU and UK across a range of sectors, at the moment facilitated by our common EU membership.