The Government and the EU remain committed to securing a negotiated Brexit outcome. We have been planning for all Brexit scenarios but in light of uncertainties in London and the Brexit deadline of 29 March, the Government decided at its meeting of 11 December that immediate priority must now be given to preparations for a no deal Brexit and that Government Departments and state agencies should urgently take forward work on that basis.
The Contingency Action Plan which the Government published on 19 December sets out in comprehensive terms, the challenges to be faced and the actions taken and planned by the Government across key sectors in the event of a no deal Brexit scenario.
My key area of interest is the impact of Brexit on the current reciprocal arrangements for social insurance schemes, social assistance schemes and child benefit between Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland. I met with the then UK Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Right Honourable Esther McVey, on 23April 2018. We agreed on our objective in ensuring that the reciprocity of social welfare rights and entitlements, which currently exist for Irish and UK citizens moving within Ireland and between Ireland and Britain under the Common Travel Area, are safeguarded and maintained.
During the passage of the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2018 through the Oireachtas I gave a commitment to share the analysis being conducted by my Department on the impact of Brexit on the reciprocal arrangements for social insurance schemes, social assistance schemes and child benefit between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. I will do that at the appropriate time.