What does the Brexit mean for Irish people in Britain?

No visas, no restrictions, no border posts - yet

Brexit, referendum, Ireland, contingency plan, travel, border posts, jobs, working,

File photo of Taoiseach Enda Kenny (left) and British Prime Minister David Cameron (right) in Government Buildings | Image: RollingNews.ie

As the fallout continues from Britain's EU referendum result, the Irish Government has published its contingency plan.

It has adopted a framework, identifying key policy issues to be managed by government departments.

It is being coordinated by the Department of the Taoiseach.

The Government says priority issues identified include UK-EU negotiations, British-Irish relations, Northern Ireland, trade, investment, North-South border impacts and competitiveness.

But what does the vote mean for Ireland and Irish people in Britain?


The Department of Foreign Affairs says Irish citizens living in the UK are legally resident there and this has not changed.

"Current rules governing the residence rights of Irish citizens in the UK remain in place", it says.

It adds that "the detail of the UK's exit from the EU will be worked out over a negotiation period that is likely to take a minimum of two years."

It also stresses that no visas are now required for travelling between Ireland and the UK.


During UK negotiations to leave the bloc, it remains a member state of the EU with no changes to current freedoms for citizens to travel and work between Ireland and the UK.

"Every effort will be made to minimize any changes to these arrangements and in any event people will be fully informed of any changes eventually made", the Department of Foreign Affairs says.

Northern Ireland border:

There will be no immediate customs posts along the border, while negotiations are underway.

However the contingency plan states: "It is difficult to imagine a situation where there will be no controls or checks on the movement of goods when the UK leaves the EU."

"This would inevitably involve additional costs. There might conceivably be British as well as EU measures."

"It should be noted that the customs régime between the EU and some other third countries does not, however, involve fixed border posts but a less disruptive mixture of electronic filing and random physical checks", it adds.


Enterprise Ireland will run an information campaign including explainers and guides, online information and webinars in Ireland and the UK.

These will provide guidance on issues including the implications of trading, improving competitiveness and reducing supply chain costs.

Enterprise Ireland is also to intensify its international trade missions for 2016 to include Northern Europe, the USA, China, India "and other high growth markets."

It will also expand its focus on promoting Irish goods to international buyers in growth markets including Northern Europe, USA, and Asia Pacific in key areas such as construction, manufacturing, financial services, software, innovation, BPO and food sectors.

What happens next?:

Negotiations cannot commence until the British prime minister has formally notified the European Council of the UK's intention to leave. It is not clear when this will be.

It is likely that negotiations on the UK's future relationship with the EU - including trade - would take place at the same time as exit negotiations.

"These negotiations are likely to take several years", the Irish Government says.

EU heads of state and government will meet at the European Council in Brussels on June 28th and 29th for the European Council.

This will be an opportunity for a first discussion of the UK referendum result, and its implications for the EU.