The Irish Government has said it would work to ensure that the border region and EU funding were placed at centre stage during talks between the the UK, Ireland and the rest of the European Union.
The assurances were given as pressure ramped up on David Cameron over recent days to invoke Artcle 50, the EU membership clause which would trigger Britain and the north’s departure.
A government spokesperson has warned that there will be challnges ahead, given Ireland’s unique position as the only EU country to share a land border with the UK, but said that plans have been advanced involving all government departments to deal with the UK’s exit.
Earlier this week it emerged that the Irish Government deemed it likely that some form of border custom control would be introduced over the next few years, but that these might involve measures such as electronic filing and random physical checks as opposed to a fixed border post.
It is as yet unclear what the British Government is planning to introduce on the Derry side of the border.
Addressing the implications of Brexit for the Peace Process, the Irish Government spokesperson said: “The government will seek to ensure that future EU-UK and Ireland-UK negotiations give priority attention to the Northern Ireland dimension.
“This includes issues relating to the border and EU funding. During negotiations we would actively seek to avoid the introduction of any new measures that could negatively impact on the border region, either north or south.,” the spokesperson added.
The government said that it did not envision any immediate impact on EU-funded cross-border programmes such as those run under PEACE and INTERREG, adding that they were committed to developing north-south co-operation, “including arrangements for tackling organised crime and criminality.”
The Irish Government said that the Common Travel area with the UK- in existence since Irish independence- had proved beneficial for trade and tourism, adding: “We have every reason to believe that both governments will work hard to preserve its benefits. However, the Common Travel Area has only ever operated where both Ireland and the UK were either outside the EU, or within it. It will be a key issue for Ireland in the context of negotiating new terms and conditions.”