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British Irish Parliamentary Assembly Sovereign Affairs Committee calls for continued cooperation in order to mitigate impact of Brexit on North South relations & the border

Added 12-Jun-2018

British Irish Parliamentary Assembly Sovereign Affairs Committee calls for continued cooperation in order to mitigate impact of Brexit on North South relations & the border


In a report published today, the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Sovereign Matters has called for continued cooperation on the border question.


The Committee was inquiring into the implications of Brexit on the British-Irish trade relationship and the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. In particular, the Committee focused its inquiry on:


• The impact that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will have on trade, economic and business relations between Ireland and the UK;


• Implications for the border;


• Membership of the Customs Union;


• Access to the Single Market.


The Committee found that the absence of a Northern Ireland Executive adversely affects how the interests of Northern Ireland have been represented during internal UK discussions on Brexit. The report states that the UK and Irish Governments should continue to support efforts to re-establish the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive.


Conclusions from the report include:


• Any change to the frictionless border would be a retrograde step. The Committee also heard fears that physical installations on the border could be a target for dissident groups.


• It is essential that the commitments made in the Joint Report of December 2017 be met in the Withdrawal Agreement concluded between the EU and the UK. In the event that such an Agreement is not reached, the UK Government must fulfil its guarantee of avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.


• In the absence of membership of the European Single Market and EU Customs Union, it would be desirable for the UK and EU to agree a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, but this in itself will not be sufficient to prevent the creation of new barriers to the movements of goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland.


Committee Chair, Peter Fitzpatrick TD, said today, “Northern Ireland is the part of the UK most significantly impacted by Brexit and the Sovereign Affairs Committee is particularly concerned about the possible re-introduction of a hard border. The Committee was united in its concerns over measures that could impede the free movement of people and goods over the border and expressed concern that physical installations on the border could negatively affect the ongoing Peace Process. Our report reiterates the positive impact that the frictionless border has had on the Peace Process and the Committee welcomes the commitments made by the UK Government and the EU, as well as the priority that this issue has been given during negotiations.”


“This year marks 20 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, which remains at the heart of positive North South relations. The ease of crossing the border plays a vital role in allowing border communities to be less divided and isolated and the Committee hopes that the negotiating partners keep the unique sensitivities of Brexit as it relates to Northern Ireland at the forefront of their talks.”


Report attached herehere.



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