Future of the land border with the Republic of Ireland inquiry launched

16 September 2016

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee launch an inquiry into the future of the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland following Brexit.

The UK and the Republic of Ireland have long-shared a Common Travel Area, allowing the free movement of people, goods and services across the border. The potential implications of Brexit for the land border formed a key part of the debate during the referendum campaign, with contrasting statements made by both sides. Since then, the new Prime Minister has stated that she does not wish to see a return to the borders of the past. The aim of the inquiry will be to assess the options for the future of the border under the different potential scenarios for the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Terms of reference

The Committee invites written evidence on its new inquiry with a view to holding public evidence sessions in November and December. Among other issues, the Committee seeks evidence on:

  • What benefits currently derive from the existing open border arrangements?
  • What options are there for maintaining the existing Common Travel Area arrangements?
  • What are the options for the border if the UK was not part of the EU customs union? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option?
  • What are the options for the border if the UK was not part of the Single European Market? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option
  • What options are available that would maintain the First and Deputy First Ministers’ desire for free movement of people, goods and services?
  • What policing and criminal justice arrangements will need to be in place to ensure the border does not result in an increase in illegal activity?
  • What would be the implications of Northern Ireland having some form of special status within a post-Brexit UK?
  • Does the UK’s departure from the EU have implications for the UK and Ireland’s common visa system?
  • What lessons can be drawn from the other parts of the EU that have an external land border, such as between Norway and Sweden/Finland, or between Switzerland and its neighbours?

The Chair of the Committee, Laurence Robertson MP, said:

"There is a desire on all sides to maintain the existing open border with the Republic. Our inquiry will assess the different options open to the Government that will achieve that objective, with the aim of producing recommendations and conclusions ahead of the start of formal negotiations between the UK and the EU."

Submitting written evidence

Written evidence should be submitted online via the inquiry page

The Committee asks for written submissions in accordance with the guidelines below by Friday 21 October 2016. As a guideline submissions should be no longer than 3000 words.

Written evidence submissions

Submissions should be a self-contained memorandum in Word or Rich Text Format (not pdfs). Submissions must state clearly who the submission is from e.g. ‘written evidence submitted by xxxx’ and be no more than 3,000 words. Where possible the submission should begin with a short summary and have numbered paragraphs.

Committees publish most of the written evidence they receive on the internet (where it will be accessible to search engines); any that relates to a witness’s oral evidence may also be printed with the Committee’s report at the end of an inquiry.

If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so and explain your reasons for not wishing its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish the evidence. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this.

A Committee is not obliged to accept your submission as evidence, nor to publish any or all of the submission even if it has been accepted as evidence.
Committees do not normally investigate individual cases of complaint or allegations of maladministration.

Further information

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