The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has re-launched the inquiry into the future of the Irish land border. The inquiry will build on work begun in the last Parliament and focus on the specific challenges facing the region as the UK negotiates to leave the European Union.
UK's Brexit strategy and Northern Ireland
As the EU and UK negotiating positions become ever clearer, the Committee will examine what impact their proposals would have on Northern Ireland. How will communities and businesses be affected by key decisions, such as the future customs relationship between the UK and the EU? What are the implications for the Common Travel Area and the Good Friday Agreement? What are the potential benefits and pitfalls of competing models?
A key part of the inquiry will be to examine what aspects of the UK's Brexit strategy have a disproportionate effect on Northern Ireland. How are the views of Northern Ireland represented in negotiations, particularly given the impasse in restoring the Assembly.
Call for written submissions
The Committee invites written submissions on the following questions:
- Which models for the UK's future relationship with the EU provide the best outcomes for the Irish land border?
- How should the reciprocal citizenship rights of UK and Irish citizens be protected after the UK leaves the EU?
- What are the strengths and limitations of the Government’s position as outlined in the policy paper ‘Northern Ireland and Ireland’?
- Can the existing framework for North/South and East/West cooperation under the Belfast Agreement continue unaltered once the UK leaves the EU?
- How would leaving the single market affect the movement of goods and services across the Irish land border? Outside the single market, what new mechanisms will be required?
- How would leaving the customs union affect the movement of goods across the Irish land border? Outside the customs union, what new mechanisms will be required?
- To what extent can technological solutions replace physical border infrastructure?
- What are the potential advantages for business in Northern Ireland?
- What lessons can be drawn from the other parts of the EU that have an external land border?
Submissions made to the Committee in the previous Parliament will be used in this inquiry and do not need to be resubmitted.
The deadline for submitting evidence is 1st November 2017.
Absence of Executive places duty on remaining democratic institutions
Committee Chair, Dr Andrew Murrison, commented:
"It is difficult to overstate the importance of Brexit negotiations in deciding the future of Northern Ireland. The decisions that are made, on issues such as trade, agriculture and immigration, have the potential to touch every facet of life in communities on both side of the border.
Furthermore, the temporary absence of an Executive places a special duty on the remaining democratic institutions to look out for the interests of people in Northern Ireland. As a Committee, we will be scrutinising negotiations closely, ensuring that the region where the results of Brexit will be felt most keenly cannot be forgotten."
Submissions are invited by Friday 21 October 2017