EU Select Committee

Brexit: UK-Irish relations follow-up inquiry

Inquiry status: concluded

Inquiry concluded. Letter from Committee published 27 February 2018.

Scope of inquiry

This inquiry is a follow-up to the Committee's December 2016 report on Brexit: UK-Irish relations.

The Committee's original report found that the implications of Brexit for Ireland were more profound than they are for any other Member State, giving rise to a series of complex and interconnected questions, affecting UK-Irish relations, Northern Ireland, and North-South relations on the island of Ireland. The Committee warned that closer UK-Irish relations and stability in Northern Ireland must not become 'collateral damage' of Brexit.

There have been significant developments since the report was published, including:

  • Following the triggering of Article 50, the commencement of discussions on the implications of Brexit for Northern Ireland and Ireland as one of the three 'phase 1' negotiation issues
  • The publication by the UK Government of a Position Paper on Northern Ireland and Ireland in August 2017, followed in September by publication by the European Commission of Guiding Principles on the Dialogue on Ireland/ Northern Ireland
  • The agreement in December 2017 of a Joint Report from the UK and EU negotiators on progress during the phase 1 negotiations, paving the way for discussions on the UK’s future relationship with the EU to commence.

Issues to be considered

This follow-up inquiry will review the impact of Brexit on UK-Irish relations, in light of the developments outlined above, with particular emphasis on:

  • The implications for UK-Irish relations of the December Joint Report on progress made during the phase 1 negotiations
  • The key priorities and issues to be addressed in relation to Ireland and Northern Ireland in phase 2 of the negotiations
  • The status of the Irish land border, and options for maintaining frictionless cross-border trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland
  • The extent to which the views of both the unionist and nationalist communities in Northern Ireland are being taken into account during the Brexit negotiations
  • The impact of the continuing Brexit negotiations on North-South and East-West relations.

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