Ambassador issues post-Brexit reassurance for Irish community in Britain
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Ambassador issues post-Brexit reassurance for Irish community in Britain

THE Irish Ambassador to Britain has reassured the community of their position in the country following the nation’s exit from the European Union.

Britain officially left the EU on January 31, following three and a half years of political wrangling to agree a withdrawal agreement.

A transition period is now in place, which is due to end on December 31, 2020.

In a bid to reassure  any members of the Irish community who are unsure where they now stand, Irish Ambassador Adrian O’Neill confirmed that “the Common Travel Area means that Irish citizens living in the UK (and vice versa) will continue to be able to travel freely, live, work and access education and social services as before”.

He explained: “This means that Irish citizens do not have to apply for the UK Government’s Settled Status Scheme to continue their lives in the UK as before, although people may do so if they wish.”

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The Ambassador went on to flag that the Settled Status Scheme application will be required for any dependents who are not Irish or British citizens.

“It is important to note, however, that the close family members and/or dependents of Irish citizens who are neither Irish nor British will have to apply for the Settled Status scheme in order to maintain their right to live and work in the UK after it leaves the European Union,” he explained.

“This requirement does not mean, however, that an Irish citizen must apply to the Settled Status Scheme in order to facilitate an application from their non-British/Irish family member.”

Your Brexit-related questions answered...

The Irish Embassy in London have shared the following Frequently Asked Questions and answers on Brexit and the Common Travel Area:

Will I still be able to travel freely between the UK and Ireland after Brexit?

Yes. Irish citizens can continue to travel freely between the UK and Ireland in the same manner as before. Don’t forget your passport (or other valid I.D. depending on how you are travelling)! And if your passport is out of date, the fastest way to renew it is online at www.dfa.ie/passport.

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Can I still study in the UK?

Yes, Irish citizens can still study in the UK on the same basis as British citizens.

What does the CTA mean for further and higher education fees for Irish citizens studying in the UK?

Your fees will be set at the EU level for 2019/ 2020 academic year, and will continue on that basis for the duration of the programme for which you have registered. The CTA means Ireland and the UK will take steps to ensure Irish and British citizens can continue to access further and higher education on the same fee basis into the future, including after Brexit.

Can I still rent a place to live or access social housing supports in the UK as an Irish citizen?

Yes, you can still rent a place to live and you continue to have a right to access social housing supports, including supported housing and homeless assistance, on the same basis as British citizens.

Can I still vote in the UK as an Irish citizen?

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Yes, Irish citizens resident in the United Kingdom, and British citizens resident in Ireland, have the right to vote in local and national parliamentary elections. The right to vote at local and national parliamentary elections will remain subject to Irish and British citizens having reached the established voting age and having registered on the electoral roll in their respective jurisdictions.

What social welfare entitlements will I continue to have under the CTA?

Irish citizens and British citizens in each other’s State have the right to access social security benefits on the same basis as citizens of that State. This includes arrangements for Social Insurance schemes, Social Assistance schemes and Child Benefit.

What about healthcare?

The CTA also applies to healthcare so Irish citizens in Britain can continue to access healthcare as they do now, on the same basis as British citizens.

Can I use my Irish driving license in the UK?

Yes. The UK Government’s stated position is that, post Brexit, arrangements for EU licence holders who are visiting or living in the UK would not change. Visitors to the UK, with driving licences from EU Member States, will enjoy the same arrangements as today.

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What about if I’m travelling to Ireland on a UK driving licence?

Visitors to Ireland with a UK driving licence will still be able to drive in Ireland on holidays.

And can I bring my UK registered car?

Yes, if you are travelling in 2020. It is possible there may be changes in 2021 after the end of the transition period.