4 Jul 2017, 14.11

Report is the result of a request from EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier for potential solutions

The Seanad Special Select Committee on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union has today launched its report ‘Brexit: Implications and Potential Solutions.’
In recognition of the potential consequences of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, the Seanad established a Special Select Committee to consider the implications for Ireland and to suggest some possible solutions to identifiable problems.  In order to support its thinking and considerations, the Committee organised nine days of public hearings with former Taoisigh, former Ministers of Foreign Affairs, sectoral experts, representative organisations, local authorities, all-Island bodies and many more.
Some key findings in the report include:
•    An EU-UK-US open skies agreement: Separate EU-UK and US-UK Open Skies Agreements will need to be agreed to replace the current EU-US Open Skies arrangements, to which the UK will no longer be a party, a new agreement is needed before spring 2018.
•    Energy supply: In the event of a hard Brexit, the most obvious solution is the completion of the Celtic Interconnector between Ireland and France, which would reduce Ireland’s reliance on the UK.
•    The PEACE and INTERREG programmes should be retained to support the continuance of cross-border and cross-community initiatives following Brexit. This is vital to the peace process and ensuring political stability in Northern Ireland. A continued financial support for the two schemes will have to be explored with the UK along the model that already exists for INTERREG programmes with third countries.

Committee Chair, Senator Neale Richmond said, “It is generally accepted that the negatives far outweigh the positives when it comes to the impact of Brexit on Ireland. Our report reflects this and is based on the overwhelming evidence offered by our witnesses.”

“One of the main findings in the report relates to disruption in airline service between the US, the UK, and the EU. We are recommending that separate EU-UK and US-UK Open Skies Agreements before Spring 2018, so air routes for 2018 / 2019 are not adversely impacted. As an island nation with an air bridge to the UK, we are extremely exposed to any disruption to flight connectivity, so it is vital that an agreement is reached.”

“In terms of transport, we heard that bus services crossing the border are likely to face significant challenges as a result of the UK exit from the European Union, as are trains and taxis. It is important that any post-Brexit regulation should reflect, as close as possible, the provisions which allow for regular cross-border passenger services conducive to an all-island economy.”

“The report will be sent to all government departments, all member state governments, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council. It is the Committee’s hope that the report will further inform negotiations as Member States work to manage this event which has shaken the global political landscape. We look forward to hearing the government’s response to this report and we would urge the government to take these findings to Brussels and London.”

The Committee will also be seeking a Seanad debate on the report.

Read the report here.

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