Maintenance of the Common Travel Area (CTA) is one of the Government's key Brexit priorities. The CTA pre-dates both Ireland's and the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union and is not dependent on it.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in relation to the CTA was signed by the Governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom in London on the 8 May 2019. The MOU reaffirmed that Irish and British citizens can move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and entitlements which include social benefits.
My objective has been to ensure that the reciprocal social welfare rights and entitlements, which currently exist for Irish and UK citizens moving within the CTA are safeguarded and maintained. Because of the unique nature of the CTA, it was agreed that Ireland and the UK would formalise these pre-existing rights and entitlements in a legally binding agreement.
A Convention on Social Security was signed on 1 February 2019 and the Parliamentary ratification processes in both Ireland and the UK were completed in March of this year. Under the terms of the agreement the existing social security coordinating arrangements with regard to the recognition of, and access to, social insurance entitlements (including pensions) and the export of certain payments (such as child benefit) will be maintained in both countries. The Convention will enter into force on the 31 October 2019, in the event of a no-deal Brexit or following the end of the associated transitional period in the event of a deal being agreed.
This means that the rights of Irish or British citizens living in Ireland to benefit from social insurance contributions made when working in the UK, and to access social insurance payments if resident in the UK are protected and vice versa.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.