In accordance with Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, the UK formally notified the European Council of the UK's intention to leave the EU on 29 March 2017, thus commencing the two-year exit process.
The decision of the UK to leave the European Union, taken in the referendum on 23 June 2016, presents profound economic and political challenges for Ireland. As the only European member state to share a physical border with the UK, Ireland occupies a unique position in the Brexit debate.
Although Ireland regrets the UK's decision to leave the EU, it has been clear since the June referendum that the British Government would follow this path. Ireland has therefore been preparing for Brexit for a long time and is ready for what lies ahead.
To protect the prosperity and peace of the country, the Irish government has developed a comprehensive preparatory program, involving consultation, analysis, prioritisation and engagement.
Arising from this extensive analysis, Ireland's key priorities have been identified as the following:
- Minimising the impact on trade and the economy
- Protecting the Northern Ireland Peace Process
- Maintaining the Common Travel Area
- Influencing the future of the European Union
Ireland remains fully committed to EU membership and the Eurozone, and we will be very much part of the EU team in the negotiations ahead. Membership in the EU remains central to the success of our open, competitive economy and has been the foundation for much of the social progress we have made over the last four decades. The Irish people have consistently endorsed the membership of the EU, including recently when we faced our most difficult economic challenges since independence. Membership of the European Union has brought great benefits to our country and remains profoundly in our interests. We value our access to the single market and the benefits our exporters derive from EU trade agreements with other countries. More broadly, Ireland values being part of a Union with other like-minded democracies which share our values and interests.
Further information on Ireland's position can be found at the following links:
- Brexit: Ireland's priorities
- Government statement on Brexit preparations
- Frequently asked questions about Brexit
- Brexit by numbers
- Engagement: key speeches and statements by the Irish Government
- Latest Brexit reports and analysis related to Ireland
- Information on consultations by the Government of Ireland