The House of Lords EU Select Committee has today launched a short follow-up inquiry to its 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
16 January meeting
The Committee's evidence programme will begin on Tuesday 16 January, in Committee Room 3, Palace of Westminster when the Committee will hear from:
- Dr Graham Gudgin, Chief Economic Advisor, Policy Exchange and previously special advisor to the First Minister of Northern Ireland, 1998-2002, Policy Exchange
- Professor John Garry, Queen's University Belfast
At 4:05 pm
- Dame Fiona Kendrick, Chairman, Nestlé UK and Ireland
- Mr Leigh Pomlett, Executive Director CEVA Group and Freight Transport Association President
- Mr James Hookham, Deputy Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association
Between now and 6 February, the Committee will hear evidence from the UK Government, academic experts, businesses and operators operating cross-border, and customs authorities at existing EU external borders. From 30 January to 1 February the Committee will also visit Dublin, Belfast, Derry/Londonderry and the North West Border Region, to hear from politicians on all sides, and from businesses, service providers and communities.