THERESA MAY is set to offer continued free movement for Irish citizens in Britain after the UK leaves the European Union.
The British Prime Minister is expected to announce the offer to coincide with the publication of new Brexit position papers this week, according to The Irish Times.
Britain will also offer to track goods being moved across the Irish border using number plate detection technology in order to keep border stops to a minimum.
With Irish nationals set to retain their rights to live and work in Britain post-Brexit, here’s everything you need to know...
What will change for Irish citizens post-Brexit?
The position paper proposes a ‘reiteration’ of the current Common Travel Area between Ireland and Britain – so in effect, very little.
The ‘Schengen Zone-style’ agreement will ensure free movement of Irish citizens in and out of Britain – meaning Irish citizens will not be subject to the same security procedures as other EU nationals in Britain.
The new arrangement for Irish citizens will replicate the Common Travel Area – set up in 1923 – and guarantee Irish nationals special status.
What else is on the table?
The proposal for the Irish in Britain is being considered alongside other documents setting out a ‘digital border’ between Ireland and the North, as well as Britain’s relationship with the EU’s customs union post-Brexit.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar supports Britain entering a customs union with the EU and re-joining the European Free Trade Association – neither of which are likely.
More papers on fisheries and agriculture will be published next week.
What does this mean for the Irish border?
CCTV cameras, automatic number plate recordings and limited customs spot checks are all being proposed – not exactly a ‘hard border’ but still contrary to Mr Varadkar’s hopes.
Earlier this month, the Taoiseach suggested he had seen ‘no evidence’ that technology could solve the problem of keeping goods and traffic flowing across a border with 200 crossing points which is used by 177,000 lorries a month, 208,000 vans and 1.85 million cars.
He wants the EU to create a unique EU-UK customs union that would allow the Northern Ireland border to continue as it is – which isn’t part of Theresa May’s proposal.
Nevertheless, the British Government’s support for ‘limited’ customs checks will go some way to reassure fears of a hard border.