The East-West Relationship (pre- and post-Brexit)

A lot has (rightly) been written about the effect of Brexit on the border and the economic, social and political impact this will have on North-South relations. While there has also been discussion of the East-West, British-Irish relationship, I think it merits some more analysis. There is a lot to consider: the extent of trade between the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain, the flow of people in both directions, the rights that have accrued over the decades as part … Read more

Special Status for the ROI in the EU?

In my post on whether Northern Ireland could stay in or have “special status” in the EU, I concluded that at the very least Northern Ireland does already have special status because everyone has the option of taking up an EU (Irish) passport. I’m now considering whether Brexit may also result in EU “special status” for the Republic. To be clear, this is a think-piece, not a proposal. I’m ruling out the Republic of Ireland actually leaving the EU, as its economy is … Read more

Tánaiste: “It has always been the case that Ireland and the United Kingdom cooperate closely on jointly securing the external border of the CTA…”

A couple of recent written questions in the Dáil, on the future operation of the Common Travel Area and immigration controls, provided the Irish Government with an opportunity to address what are described as “a number of misleading media reports on these matters in recent days”. From the Dáil record [13 Oct] Brexit Issues 10. Deputy Fiona O’Loughlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her views on media reports that the United Kingdom is seeking to shift the front line of … Read more

“Mr Varadkar said Ireland and Britain could become a ‘mini-Schengen'”

The Irish Times reports some odd comments by the Irish Government Tourism and Transport Minister, Leo Varadkar, at a meeting of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly at Leinster House in Dublin.  Odd, that is, given what we already know.  From the Irish Times report Mr Varadkar said tourists and business visitors should not be forced to source one set of travel papers for the UK and a second set for th Republic. “This means that there are real opportunities to … Read more

“At present persons granted an Irish visa are not permitted to use that visa to travel to the UK.”

Not that we didn’t already know that…  However, the Northern Ireland Tourism Minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, fielded a number of NI Assembly questions back in Feb/March on the issue of the Irish Government’s “Visa Waiver Scheme for nationals of 16 countries who hold a valid visa for entry into the United Kingdom.” Here is one of her answers I discussed this issue with Hugo Swire, NIO Minister of State last month. The Republic of Ireland, ROI, introduced a visa … Read more

A united archipelago..

With the number of countries implementing the Schengen agreement now increased to 24, the Irish Times tries, once again, to start a reasoned debate on whether the Republic of Ireland should also join. From Monday’s editorial [subs req] “On the map of the Schengen area Ireland and Britain are conspicuous absentees on the west of the continent, along with the main Balkan states, Turkey, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Moldova and Russia to the east. New lines are being drawn. Asked recently whether … Read more

So sign up to Schengen…

The most interesting point to emerge from today’s optically orientated 9th meeting of the British Irish Council wasn’t the quibbling about the financial package – it ain’t going to change significantly – it was the mention of gaps in security, which Dermot Ahern stated was referring to the Schengen Agreement.. and Gordon Brown agrees. The Alliance Party have previously made mention of this Agreement but the focus appears to be on different proposals than those presented by that party. [It … Read more