Section 1: Brexit and its Impact on Ireland

Please see below executive summary to Section 1 of the report “Brexit and the Future of Ireland”. Section 1 in full is available at the link

Section 1 Brexit and the Future of Ireland

Executive Summary

The terms of reference for the report for the Joint Committee on the Implementation of

the Good Friday Agreement included an analysis of the impact on Brexit on Northern

Ireland and what Ireland should seek to have in the final agreement between the EU

and the UK regarding Northern Ireland. It is clear from all the reports written on the

issue of Brexit that its effect on Northern Ireland will be significant. In February 2016

research commissioned by the UK Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment

on the economic implications of a UK exit from the EU showed that Northern Ireland is

more vulnerable to Brexit that Britain. The loss to Northern Ireland of EU membership,

and funding will be significant, the subsequent effect on the economy and the potential

to destabilise the peace process is a central concern.

That is why the key recommendation of the report is that all current and future EU

programmes & funding, in the absence of alternative arrangements for Northern

Ireland, should continue to be supported by HM Treasury. Ireland believes that in

relation to BREXIT Northern Ireland is a special case and its Peace Process is worthy

of on-going support from the EU and Britain.

For this research paper we have included information on some of the EU programmes

that HM Treasury would have to continue funding. Member of the European Parliament

Brian Crowley provided information in relation to the EU Funding programmes 2014 –

2020.

This report looks at the difficulties of predicting the impact of BREXIT. To highlight

this challenge, we reproduce the divergence of estimates by various organisations

who tried to predict the impact of the World Trade Organisation rules being imposed

on the UK. The difficulty of predicting the impact of BREXIT on Northern Ireland is

further compounded by the lack of reliable data and accurate statistics for Northern

Ireland. Such a ‘data deficit’ needs to be addressed in order for the Irish Government to

produce a coherent long term policy in relation to Northern Ireland.

Congressman Brendan Boyle commissioned research from the United States House

of Representatives Congressional Research Service specifically for this report for

the Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Congressman

Boyle’s report outlines the data deficit for Northern Ireland, in particular the difficulty in

accurately determining the actual income and the fiscal deficit in Northern Ireland. This

report also commissioned research on the rationalisation of the large public sector in

Northern Ireland, the findings of the Oireachtas Library and Research is included in

the appendix of this section. The Report on the All-Ireland Economy (Joint Oireachtas

Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation complied by Deputy Peadar Toibin TD)

is reproduced here in the appendix. We recommend that in the light of Brexit a second

report should be commissioned on the All Island Economy. We are conscious of the

recent hearings and report by the Committee Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on Brexit.

We have reproduced some sections of reports from the Nevin Economic Research

Institute (NERI) and the OXFORD Economics which, despite the data deficit, have

attempted to analyse and highlight the potential impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland.

One key concern of the Irish Government and the Irish people is the return of the

border. It is feared that a ‘Hard BREXIT’ will mean a ‘Hard Border’. Again the lack of

accurate data is highlighted by the difficulty in terms of determining how many people

cross the border every day for work and study. Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has

made a submission to the committee on the return of the border between the North and

the South.

Former Irish Ambassador to Canada Ray Bassett’s submission on Irexit is included.

The solution to the problem of creating a border on the old partition lines between north

and south is for the border to be in the Irish Sea between the island of Ireland and

Britain as was the case from 1939 to 1952. This was highlighted in the House of Lords:

European Union Committee report entitled ‘Brexit :UK-Irish relations’ which we quote

and analyse. This report is available in full in the appendix to this chapter. The issue

around the common travel area is also examined.

The reports looks at a neglected topic on the BREXIT discussion, that being the effects

on women. For this report we commissioned a research paper from the Library and

Research Service of the House of the Oireachtas to give an overview of the responses

to BREXIT of the British and Irish governments and the legislature in each jurisdiction.

The Library and Research service of the Oireachtas were also commissioned to

provide an updated report on The Good Friday Agreement, the Peace Process and

the Institutions; the report provides a background on a range of issues which feature a

specific cross-border dimension. The theme of the paper was ‘the Impact of Brexit on

Cross border activities’

In compiling this section of the report we reproduced the findings of the Library &

Research Service of the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The briefing paper provided information on a range of topics;

Policing and Justice Finance and Funding

Business and Trade Agriculture

Labour Market and Skills Tourism Energy and Environment

Health Education

The paper looked at the impact which ‘BREXIT’ may have on these and other issues

across Ireland. The range of impact on Ireland, both north and south, cannot properly be

assessed until such time as the terms of the withdrawal agreement from the EU are known.

Therefore it should be noted that the list of issues discussed here is not exhaustive.

1.1 RECOMMENDATIONS

The Irish government must negotiate for Northern Ireland to be designated with a

special status within the EU and for the whole island of Ireland to remain within the

EU together.

All current and future EU programmes & funding for Northern Ireland, in the

absence of alternative arrangements for Northern Ireland, should continue to be

funded by HM Treasury.

The Report on the All-Ireland Economy: compiled in 2016 by Peadar Toibin TD for

the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in the light of

Brexit should be updated.

Any passport controls between Ireland and the UK should be along the same basis

as for people traveling between these islands from 1939 to 1952. There should not be

a return to passport controls on the borders between the North and South of Ireland.

A detailed analysis of the impact of Brexit on Women, programmes to mitigate these

impacts should be implemented

Research into the actual income and expenditure for Northern Ireland should be

carried out by the Government.

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