Planning for Brexit and beyond
The Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement has produced a 400 page plus report entitled Brexit and the Future of Ireland: Uniting Ireland and its People in Peace and Prosperity and included is an analysis of the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland and what Ireland should seek to have in the final agreement between the EU and the UK regarding Northern Ireland.
It points out the extent to which all reports on the issue of Brexit show that its effect on Northern Ireland will be significant – and highlights that Northern Ireland could be more vulnerable to its effects than Britain.
Economic and peace process considerations combined lead to its key recommendation: “… if current EU funding programmes cannot be protected then the eligibility of Northern Ireland for receipt of EU Structural funds and other funding schemes and mechanisms must be clarified as a matter of urgency…”.
However it points out an additional problem – that while all reports agree on Brexit’s potential impact things are “…. further compounded by the lack of reliable data and accurate statistics for Northern Ireland. Such a ‘data deficit’ needs to be addressed in order for the Irish Government to produce a coherent long-term policy in relation to Northern Ireland.
It believes its proposals, which include answering now the questions thrown up by potential unification, could help and chart a way towards peaceful re-unification.