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Ireland/Northern Ireland FAQs

Ireland/Northern Ireland Issues

What are the next steps on the Irish issues?

Ireland welcomed the decision of the European Council on 15 December 2017 that sufficient progress has been made in Phase One of the Article 50 negotiations. This was a very significant step, not least because the move to start discussions on the framework for a future relationship is hugely significant for Ireland given the unique circumstances on island of Ireland and the importance of our economic relationship with the UK.

Ireland has secured concrete commitments on the maintenance of the Common Travel Area, on the protection of the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts and on the gains of the peace process. We have also secured clear and strong commitments on avoiding a hard border and on how this will be achieved.

It has been agreed that the Irish specific issues will continue to be taken forward in a distinct strand of the negotiations in phase two. This will ensure that they will not be overlooked in the next phase and that work will continue in parallel with the wider negotiations on scoping out the EU’s future relationship with the UK.

 

What are the implications for Northern Ireland and the Peace Process?

The Government will seek to ensure that the EU-UK negotiations give priority attention to the Northern Ireland dimension, including issues relating to the border, EU funding, and ensuring that the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts remains fully in place and respected.

During negotiations we will actively seek to avoid the introduction of any new measures that could negatively impact on the Border region, either North or South.

It is vital that the benefits of the peace process are safeguarded and built upon for future generations, in whatever arrangements are agreed.

More material will be added to this section. Please check back at a later stage.

 

Citizen's Rights

Implications for Citizens' Rights:

The EU-UK Joint Progress Report records the issues upon which the EU and the UK have reached agreement in principle.

In the next phase of the negotiations, the EU and the UK will proceed to ensure that these commitments and guarantees are reflected in the Withdrawal Agreement, which will be legally binding.

The Joint Report recognises that the EU and the UK have agreed that the Common Travel Area can continue. In plain terms, it means there is no change in the right of Irish citizens to move freely North and South, East and West, and to live, work, study and access social benefits in the UK on the same basis as UK citizens.

The Joint Report also sets out agreed principles on protecting the rights of EU citizens and their families who have exercised EU free movement rights before the date of the UK’s withdrawal. These agreed principles apply fully to Irish citizens, as EU citizens. In practical terms, the principles on citizens’ rights are particularly important for family members of Irish citizens who are non-EEA nationals or nationals of another EU Member State. 

In the UK, citizens, or the family member of a citizen, of an EU country can apply for “settled status” in order to stay in the UK after the UK leaves the EU to continue to access public funds and services and to access the rights and entitlements agreed under the Withdrawal Agreement.  For more information, see the UK Government’s information page.  

 

Common Travel Area

What is the Common Travel Area?

The basic principle guiding the operation of the CTA is that the Irish and UK Governments treat each other’s citizens in a similar manner to enable them to freely move between the two jurisdictions, and thereby reside and work in either jurisdiction, without the need for special permission. The arrangement also provides broadly reciprocal rights on the freedom to reside, work and access services, including social security, health and education.

 

Can I still freely travel to/from the UK?

Yes.  Irish citizens can continue to travel freely between the UK and Ireland in the same manner as before. 

There are no requirements for passport controls in operation for Irish and UK citizens travelling within the Common Travel Area i.e. between Ireland and the UK. However, as regular passengers would be aware, all air and sea carriers require some form of identification and some carriers regard a passport as the only valid identification. Immigration authorities may also require you to have valid official photo-identification which shows your nationality.

 

Can I still work or study in the UK?

There is no change in the right of Irish citizens to move freely North and South, East and West, and to live, work, study and access social benefits in the UK on the same basis as UK citizens.

 

Do I need to apply for “settled status” in the UK?

Irish citizens living in the UK are legally resident in the UK.  The Home Office has confirmed that Irish citizens will not need to apply for “settled status” in order to attest their entitlement of rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, although they are not excluded from doing so if they so wish. 

Family members of Irish citizens who are EU citizens or non-EEA nationals will need to apply for settled status.

 

Do I need to apply for “settled status” if my non-EEA family member is applying?

No. If your family member is relying on their relationship with you as an EU citizen, you will need to demonstrate that you and your family member have been exercising EU free movement rights before the date of the UK’s withdrawal and meet the criteria of the Withdrawal Agreement. The Home Office has confirmed that this will not create a need for the Irish citizen to apply for “settled status” in their own right.

 

What is the position now of UK citizens resident in Ireland?

Rules governing the residence rights of UK citizens in Ireland remain in place. Further information can be accessed at Citizensinformation.ie.

 

I am a British citizen who wants to move to Ireland. What do I do?

Current rules governing the residence rights of UK citizens in Ireland remain in place. Further information can be accessed at Citizensinformation.ie.

 

Can I still have access to my pension/social welfare benefits as an Irish citizen in the UK?

For the most up-to-date information on access to social welfare benefits, we recommend that you consult the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s website.

 

Can I still access health services as an Irish citizen (resident in the UK) when I visit Ireland?

As the UK currently remains a full member state of the EU, there is no change in the access to emergency temporary health care arrangements for Irish citizens resident in the UK who visit Ireland.

(When accessing emergency temporary health care in Ireland, residents of the UK do not need to produce a European Health Insurance Card [EHIC].  Rather they can produce evidence of living in the UK to the GP or hospital emergency department).

 

Can I still vote in the UK as an Irish citizen?

Yes.  Irish citizens will continue to be able to vote in the UK in local and parliamentary elections