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Irish-British deal on Common Travel Area guarantees citizens' rights post-Brexit

The Common Travel Area has been in place since 1922.

Simon Coveney Source: Irish Foreign Ministry

TÁINISTE SIMON COVENEY and UK Cabinet Office minister David Lidington have signed a memorandum of understanding in an effort to secure the rights of Irish and British citizens post-Brexit. 

The memorandum was signed in London before a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference putting the rights of both citizens, that are already in place under the Common Travel Area (CTA), on a more secure footing. 

The CTA, which has been in place since 1922, is a reciprocal arrangement between Ireland and the UK, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. It has allowed British and Irish citizens to travel freely between the UK and Ireland and reside in either jurisdiction.

Speaking in London, Coveney said today’s agreement provides “clarity and assurance for citizens of both countries that the way in which British and Irish citizens can live and work freely across these islands will not change”.

The CTA is a practical demonstration of the enduring strength of the British-Irish relationship and of our people to people ties. I want to assure British citizens living in Ireland that they are welcome and truly valued here, as is their contribution to Ireland and Irish life. British citizens will continue to be able to travel freely, live, study, and work in Ireland into the future.

Today’s agreement, which is the culmination of over two years work of both governments, will mean the rights of both citizens are protected after Brexit while also ensuring that Ireland will continue to meet all obligations under EU law. 

While the guarantee of the CTA means that cross-border freedom in Northern Ireland can continue, it also covers access to healthcare, education, and social security for Irish people residing in the UK and for Britons in Ireland. 

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