Focusing on Ireland’s ‘unique concerns’ is the order of the day in the government’s new strategy document.
Enda Kenny and Theresa May pictured in Dublin in January
THE GOVERNMENT HAS launched its official Brexit strategy in the wake of the weekend’s European Council meetings regarding the same subject.
The official strategy, which can be viewed here, gives the Irish government’s agreed-upon approach to the guidelines that emerged from last weekend’s summit meetings.
The document notes that Brexit is neither Irish nor EU policy but Britain’s alone, but states that regardless “we have no option but to accept it as a reality”.
As such, the strategy going forward focuses on “Ireland’s unique concerns”:
- A commitment to “protect” the Northern Peace Process
- The avoidance of a hard border between Ireland and the North
- The preservation of the Common Travel Area encompassing Britain and Ireland
The document recognises the “desirability” of negotiations regarding the relationship between the UK and the EU post-Brexit happening only after “sufficient process” has been made on specific withdrawal issues.
The government says it is set to “intensify its focus on the economic implications of Brexit”, and is committed to “reinforce the competitiveness of the Irish economy, to protect it from potential negative impacts of Brexit”.
Likewise, the Government will “ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is fully respected and protected in the withdrawal process and that the gains of the peace process are preserved”.
Three further issues that are “specific” to Ireland have also been identified for particular “consideration” in the coming Article 50 negotiations, they being the financial settlement the UK will have to make to clear its EU budgetary obligations, the protection of both EU and British citizens’ rights, and the “orderly transfer” of the EU agencies and paraphernalia currently located in the UK.
The government has taken the time to toot its own horn in its strategy statement, saying that the EU’s agreed-upon guidelines for the Brexit negotiations are a “major endorsement” of its approach, and “a reflection of the government’s focused campaign of strategic engagement with EU member states”.
The strategy document is 68 pages in length. How it will play out in practice remains to be seen.