CCBS Director Ruth Taillon was one of the guest speakers at a ‘Brexit Briefing’ event hosted in the Hotel Kilmore, Cavan on the evening of 11 July by Brendan Smith TD, Chairman of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party. Addressing the audience of more than 200 people in attendance, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern provided a personal and wide-ranging assessment of the implications of Brexit for the island of Ireland.
Ruth Taillon, focused on the Border implications of Brexit, in particular about the dangers arising from the uncertainties about the nature of the border and the potential for increased tensions around migration and citizenship issues, social and economic cohesion and the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. While acknowledging that there is a consensus on protecting the 1998 Agreement, she reflected on the questions that are raised by statements in the Conservative Party’s recent election manifesto – in particular the stated intention to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, which would place Britain in breach of its international obligations under the 1998 Agreement. She noted also the references in the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to EU law, the European Court of Justice and the Human Rights Act 1998. Whereas Northern Ireland is currently a net beneficiary of the Structural Funds, it is unlikely that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund planned to replace the UK’s participation in the EU Structural Funds will deliver the same level of support to Northern Ireland and the Border Counties. Ruth suggested a number of proposals to mitigate the impacts of Brexit and the related loss of EU funding programmes and concluded her remarks with by reference to the recently published CCBS briefing paper* proposing that the Agreement provides the framework for maintenance of post-Brexit relations within and between these islands.
Ms Taillon’s full presentation is available below.
Other panellists – Katie Daughen, British Irish Chamber of Commerce; Lorraine Higgins, Deputy CEO, Retail Excellence Ireland and Paul Kelly, Director of Food and Drink Industry Ireland each gave detailed presentations on the economic and trade implications of Brexit of particular concern for Border Counties.
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