Simon Coveney, Tánaiste and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, gave a Keynote Speech at the DCU Brexit Institute
Herman van Rompuy, first President of the European Council, gave a Keynote Speech at the DCU Brexit Institute
Chairman Hilary Benn (UK House of Commons Committee on Exiting the EU) gave a Keynote Speech at the DCU Brexit Institute
The British-Irish relationship has been typified by close cooperation since the 1980s, culminating in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. However, Brexit has created challenges and at times the rhetoric between the British and Irish governments has been heated. It was in response to the perceived need to avoid megaphone diplomacy in the 1980s, following the 1982 Falklands War and the 1981 H-Block hunger strikes where 13 hunger strikers died, that the British-Irish relationship was institutionalised in the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement. Arguably, Brexit’s challenges justify a commitment to using existing British-Irish institutions more fully or to creating new ones.
On the political front, Brexit negotiations are proceeding; at the same time, from a strictly legal perspective, the tool with which Brexit will be managed at domestic level, i.e. the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (EUWB), is making progress in Parliament. On December 20, 2017, it was considered and amended by a Committee of the Whole House. The next step will come on January 16-17, 2018, when MPs will examine the Bill at remaining stages.
One of the most consequential – and politically challenging – amendments made in the December session subjected the final terms of withdrawal to a statute of the Parliament (sec. 9(1)). Nonetheless, there are sections of the Bill that did not undergo changes during the last reading, but that are equally controversial. These include its treatment of EU provisions related to human rights, in particular those enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFREU).