Brexit: UK-Irish relations

Summary of House of Lords select committee report dated 12 December 2016

A particular burden has fallen on the Irish Government to bring these issues to the attention of EU colleagues, and we therefore welcome the efforts the Irish Government has made to ensure that EU colleagues are informed about the unique circumstances in the island of Ireland, and the particular challenges of Brexit.

The committee recognises that the UK decision to leave the EU will have profound implications for the future of Ireland and that Ireland has a key voice within rEU during the Brexit negotiations as the EU member most affected by the split.

But the primary responsibility for drawing attention to and finding solutions to the many challenges we have identified lies with the UK Government. Ireland now faces challenges that are not of its own making.

The UK can not abdicate to the EU its responsibility for our relationship with Ireland. Any consequences for Ireland resulting from Brexit will be blamed on the UK and fan the Irish separatist movement.

Closer UK-Irish relations and stability in Northern Ireland are too important to put at risk as collateral damage of the Brexit decision. In an era of blossoming bilateral relationships, after long years of mistrust and misunderstanding, we urge the UK Government to be sensitive to the implications of its actions for the people and communities of Ireland, North and South. Anything less would diminish the efforts of all those who have worked so hard for peace and good relations across these islands.

No one in Ireland wants a return to the “troubles” and the majority appear to want to maintain the current open border arrangement. In the referendum the majority of voters in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU.

The prospect of a hard Brexit with a resulting hard wall between Ireland and Northern Ireland needs unionists and republicans in Northern Ireland to work together for their common good, even if it means the reunification of Ireland.

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