There has been a great deal of talk in recent months with regards to Britain leaving the EU or BREXIT as it has been called in the media.
While the Republic of Ireland is not part of the UK many people have questions about how this will affect their travels around Ireland. I have broken the information on Brexit to explain everything you need to know about Brexit if you are planning on travelling around Ireland.
What is Brexit?
As I mentioned earlier Brexit is where the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) has voted to leave the EU. I wrote in great detail about this when the referendum occurred last year. This means that they no longer want to be part of the European Union.
What is the European Union?
The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states. The EU has an estimated population of over 510 million. The idea of the trade union is to allow free trade between the different EU countries as well as the free movement of people. All EU member states maintain common policies on different topics. These include agriculture and fisheries as well as other common interests. The EU also has common legislation on justice and home affairs. All people who are citizens of the EU can live and work in any part of the EU without the need for a travel or work visa.
What is Article 50?
You may have heard in the news the last few days of Theresa May, Prime Minister of the UK, triggering Article 50. This is the part of EU law which allows member states of the EU to leave the Union. The United Kingdom is the first ever county to leave the EU so many people are confused about how this will occur. This is also the reason why it has taken 9 months for the United Kingdom to start this process.
Does this mean the UK has now left the EU?
By triggering article 50, The United Kingdom have given formal notice to the EU that they plan on leaving on the 29/03/17. This gives the United Kingdom at least two years to actually leave the EU. The UK want to negotiate with the EU to get the best deal possible. While they want more autonomy over their county they still want to be able to trade freely with other EU countries.
How will this effect my travels around Ireland?
Nothing will change while negotiations are taking place. You will still be able to travel through all parts of the UK and Ireland for the next two years. As it stands at present, Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and it will leave the EU with the rest of the UK in two years time. For the moment if you plan on travelling around Ireland you will still be able to freely travel between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland without incident.
What will happen in two years time?
This is an interesting question that no one knows the answer to. The UK entered the EU in 1973 with the Republic of Ireland which allowed for free trade to occur between the two areas. While there was previously a border in place in Northern Ireland this has been long gone. Both Northern Ireland and the Republic don’t want this “hard border” to be re-instated. There are parts of the Republic of Ireland like Donegal who only have 5 miles of their county connecting to the Republic of Ireland. This would make it extremely difficult for people living in Donegal to travel out of their county.
The citizens of Northern Ireland are unique as they are both Irish citizens and UK citizens. They are entitled to a passport from both states meaning if they are an Irish citizen. They are entitled to EU rights and entitlements. All these matters will need to be discussed when talking about the process of the UK leaving the EU.
So I have nothing to worry about if I am planning on a trip to Ireland?
There is nothing to fear by coming to Ireland. No matter what the outcome of Brexit, The Republic of Ireland will always be part of the EU. Regardless of the outcome nothing will be happening over the next two years. The only thing you will need to worry about is not forgetting your raincoat. 😊