British government report calls Brexit a "huge challenge" for Ireland

The report from the House of Lords calls for talks to recognise the 'unique' nature of UK-Irish relations.

British government report calls Brexit a "huge challenge" for Ireland

File photo of EU and UK flags | Image: Stefan Rousseau PA Wire/PA Images

A senior group in the British House of Lords has called Brexit a “huge challenge” for Ireland.

A new report from the house’s EU Committee is calling on all parties in the upcoming talks on the process to give “official recognition to the special, unique nature of UK-Irish relations.”

The committee has considered the potential implications for the economy and cross border trade, the common travel area and the movement of goods and people.

It has also examined what the move might mean for the peace process.

It calls on the UK and Irish governments to negotiate a draft bilateral agreement which could then be agreed by the EU as part of final negotiations on Brexit.

As part of the agreement, the report recommends devolving power over freedom of movement of EU nationals within Northern Ireland to Stormont - while also maintaining the common travel area and the right of free movement for UK and Irish citizens.

The report is the first of six that the committee will publish over the next six days.

It warns that unless the Brexit outcome acknowledges the special circumstances in Ireland, North and South, the current open land border will be impossible to retain.

It said the current open border is crucial to stability, prosperity and confidence on both sides of the border.