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Report: Consolidating the bilateral relationship between the UK and Ireland

Added 25-Oct-2022

25 October 2022

REPORT: consolidating the bilateral relationship between the uk and ireland

UK-Irish informal relations missing after Brexit key to future relations

Report: Consolidating the bilateral relationship between the UK and Ireland


A reduction of contact between officials and politicians following Brexit has impacted UK-Irish relations, a new report by the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly’s Sovereign Affairs Committee has found. It called on both governments to maximise the potential of existing Belfast/Good Friday Agreement structures and find ways to increase informal relations.

Before Brexit, not only had UK and Irish representatives been able to meet regularly at official and ministerial levels during EU proceedings, but their delegations’ offices were located next door to each other. This had given a significant number of opportunities to build informal relationships which helped mutual understanding and cooperation

One area the report highlighted that could fix the problem was the ‘untapped potential’ of the bodies created in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. Committee lawmakers thought that formal meetings of both parties through the British-Irish Council and the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference should be less ‘episodic’ or focused on crisis events. They added that a framework that also recognises the vital importance of informal contact should be made.

The British Irish Parliamentary Assembly itself is included as a forum that can be built upon, to address sector-specific, complex or evolving bilateral concerns.

Committee Chair Senator Emer Currie said, “Regular contact, formal and informal, have been the bedrock of the relationship between our two countries, and it was strongest when they were most regular. It took Brexit to realise just how important it had been.

We don’t think new bodies or institutions are necessary to recreate the contact we had. Instead, regularising and prioritising meetings of the institutions of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, as well as widening their scope, should go a long way to further deepening our close and historical ties.

The very nature of Brexit means a potential divergence in law and regulation. We need a plan to build understanding and cooperation even if we choose different paths."




Notes to editors:

·        You will find a full copy of the report attached to this email.


For more on the membership of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly Committee B (European Affairs), click here here.


For more on BIPA, see here.

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