Brexit: Call for new UK-Irish treaty on Common Travel Area

The Common Travel Area pre-dates Britain and Ireland’s membership of the EU

The Common Travel Area is “written in sand” and should get legal certainty in a new treaty between Ireland and the UK, a report has concluded.

The study, by four legal academics, was prepared for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

The Common Travel Area (CTA) gives UK and Irish citizens certain reciprocal rights in each others’ countries.

The rights include largely unrestricted travel between each jurisdiction.

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It is an arrangement between the UK and Ireland which pre-dates their membership of the European Union

The UK and EU have agreed that it can continue to operate after Brexit.

However, the report said the terms of the CTA are “much more limited than is often believed to be the case” and some of those terms can be unilaterally changed.

Open-ended residence
It points out that there is no legally binding international agreement which comprehensively establishes the terms of CTA.

It states: “It is a relationship built on trust. There is, however, no recourse to law if trust breaks down, or slowly erodes.

“The flexibility and informality of the CTA means that associated or dependent rights for individuals are vulnerable to modification through domestic legislation.”

The current version of the CTA has been developed since 1952 and at its legal core are immigration rules that each part of the CTA operates and enforces.

Those rules allow citizens of CTA countries to have open-ended residence in each others’ countries.

Other rights flow from that including healthcare, employment and social security.

Immigration rules
The report said that while CTA-related, these arrangements are “not based on a bilateral binding agreement between the UK and Ireland and are therefore based on varying amounts of legal certainty”.

It said the best way to give legal certainty would be a bilateral agreement that covered the core of the CTA and the related arrangements.

It also recommends a “notification requirement” for both governments and the devolved administrations to inform others should they introduce changes to domestic law or policy which could impact on the CTA.

Alternatives to a new comprehensive treaty could include an agreement on just the core immigration rules or a joint memorandum of understanding setting out the terms of the CTA.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story.


Key figures from worlds of Business, sport and arts sign letter to taoiseach on Brexit

A letter to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

A Thaosigh, a chara,

In December 2017 you made a commitment to Irish citizens in the north:

“To the nationalist people in Northern Ireland, I want to assure you that we have protected your interests throughout these negotiations. Your birth right as Irish citizens, and therefore as EU citizens, will be protected. There will be no hard border on our island. You will never be again left behind by an Irish Government. These rights will, of course, be available to everyone in Northern Ireland who chooses to exercise his or her right to be an Irish citizen, regardless of their political persuasion or religious beliefs.” Leo Varadkar 8th December 2o17.


Your commitment and assurances assurances are welcomed by all who cherish their Irish citizenship and identity in the north.

However, almost a year latter, the denial of our rights continues.

The political institutions remain in suspension as political unionism continues to deney respect for our Irish identity and and language, marriage equality, access to justice for legacy matters. As you know, these rights are now taken for granted by citizens in other parts of these islands.

The British Conservative government has rendered itself unable to effect any progress on these rights issues due to its dependence on the DUP. Brexit threatens to deppen the rights crisis and there is a real danger of serious erosion of current guarantees.

Access to free healthcare in EU countries will be denied, including if an Irish citizen from the north requires medical treatment while on holiday or visiting friends and family in the south.

The cost of studying at any university in the south will increase substantially rendering this option closed to many young Irish citizens in the north.

Irish citizens in the north will no longer be represented in the European Parliament.

After Brexit occurs, there are presently no guarantees as to the mutual recognition of qualifications. This may affect an electrician wanting to work in Dublin. Or a nurse from Dublin wanting to work in Belfast.

There is a very real potential that potential that partition could be reinforced, and our country and our people further devided. This is a source of grave concern to all of us.

We, as Irish citizens, urge you to adhere to your commitment that we would “never again be left behind by an Irish Government” and to redouble your efforts, and the efforts of government, to ensure that our rights are protected.


Chuir siad siúd sa sa tuaisceart ar mór acu a saoránacht agus a bhféiniúlacht Éireannach, chuir siad sin fáilte roimh na gealltanais a thug tú.

Bliain ina dhiaidh sin, áfach, leanann leis an diúltú cert.

Tá na hinstitiúidí polaitiúla ar fionraí fós mar a dhiúlataíonn polaiteoirí aontachtacha meas a thabhairt ar Ghaeilge agus ar ár bhféiniúlacht Éireannach: ar an chomhionannas posts; agus ar chearta maidir leis an chóras dla, is cearta iad seo nach iontach le sioránaigh in áiteanna eile sna hoileáin seo.

De dheasca go bhfuil siad ag brath ar an DUP, nil an Rialtas Coimeádach sa Bhreatain ábalta aon dul chun a thabhairt i bhfeidhm i dtaobh na gceisteanna ceart seo.

De bharr Brexit, tá an bhagairt ann go rachaidh an ghéarchéim ceart in olcas agus go gcreimfear dearbhuithe reatha.

Diúltófar cúram sláinte saor in aisce do shaoránaigh i dtíortha san Aontas Eorpach; cuimsíonn sé sin an saoránach Éireannach ó thuaidh dá mbeadh cóir leighis ag teastáil air/uirthi agus é/í ar saoire nó ar cuairt ag daoine muinteartha sa deisceart.

Méadóidh an costas a bhaineann me duine ag freastal ar ollscoil sa deisceart: rud a scriosfaidh sin mar rogha do chuid mhór saorábach óg sa tuaisceart.

Ní dhéanfar ionadaíocht, níos mó, sa Parliament Eurpach ar son saoránaigh Éireannacha sa tuaisceart.

Ó thaobh cáilíochtai de, níl aon ghealltanas ann faoi láthair maidir le haitheantas frithpháirteach indiaidh Brexit. Is féidir go gcuirfidh sé sin isteach ar an leictreoir ar mhaith leis/lei bheith ag i mBaile Átha Cliath: nó ar an altra atá ag iarraidh post imBeal Feirste. 

Tá fíorchontúirt ann go neartófar an chríochdheighjlt, agus go scarfar ár dtír agus ár muintir níos arís. Is cúis mhór imní í sin ar fad.

Mar shaoránaigh Éireannacha, iarraimid ort cloí leis an choimitmint a thug tú Bach bhfágfaidh rialtas d’Eirnn ina dhiaidh muid “choiche Arís”. Iarraimid ORT do chuid iarrachtaí do rialtais a ghéarú lena a chinntiú go ndéanfar ár gcearta a chosaint.

Is Sinne

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story

Brexit puts our identity crisis to the fore once more


I’VE long believed that an important ingredient in the Brexit debate in the North of Ireland is one of identity.

SHUNNED HIS ROOTS: William Joyce, AKA Lord Haw Haw, was an Irishman who wanted to be English

The issue is never far from the surface, but the decision to quit Europe has resurrected it. Who are we? What are we? Where did we come from and where are we going? Are we British or Irish or both or neither? And where do our loyalties lie? Politicians like John Hume consistently pleaded for an understanding of diversity. He saw it as a good thing which enhanced and enrished lives. And during his time in Europe, John viewed the Union as an institution where people of all identities were valued equally. But one thing which consistently struck me during the Troubles though was how some Irishmen who advocated violence against England lived just like Englishmen. When it came to social, cultural and sporting issues, they were more English than the Queen. Republicans who justified the bombing of English cities by the IRA regularly referred to themselves as “we” when they spoke about Premier League football clubs.


They saw no contradiction in an IRA bomb decimating Manchester city centre, injuring over 200 people and causing £700m worth of damage, and them attending a match at Old Trafford. And I also recall an armchair Provo telling me once never to phone him when Coronation Street was on TV! To me he was more English than Irish, but he just couldn’t see it. Over the years, I’ve also met many Northern Irish Protestants who viewed the European Union as an institution dominated by what they perceive to be ‘Catholic’ countries. Their opposition to Europe was based largely in the Reformation. Last week in Belfast, the Lyric and Abbey Theatres combined to stage a magnificent play which took complexities of identity – or the lack of it – as its theme.

Double Cross by playwright Thomas Kilroy tells the story of how propaganda – spun by two men with deep Irish roots – played major roles in opposite sides during World War II. Tipperary-born Brendan Rendall Bracken – whose father had been a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and one of the seven founders of the GAA – went on to become an English Tory MP, a British Peer of the Realm and Winston Churchill’s Minister for Information during World War II. He later established and edited the Financial Times and The Economist magazine.

William Brooke Joyce was born of Irish parents in Brooklyn in 1906, but he was brought up in Ireland. After independence, Joyce moved to England where he became a fascist leader. He later settled in Nazi Germany where he became a German citizen. Although they never met, Joyce was destined to become world-famous as Hitler’s purveyor of propaganda, Lord Haw-Haw. After the war, Joyce was arrested and convicted of treason. And in 1946 he was hanged aged 39 in Wandsworth Prison. At the time of his execution he was an Anglican. In 1976, Joyce’s remains were exhumed at the behest of his family in Ireland and he was re-interred in the Protestant section of the New Cemetery, Bohermore, Galway, where a Latin Mass was celebrated prior to burial. To me, Bracken and Joyce were both undeniably Irish. And yet both shunned their Irish roots. Bracken regularly denied he was Irish. And Joyce, American-born and raised in Ireland, desperately wanted to be English, but in the end he had to settle for being German, which he saw as the next best thing. Despite Joyce’s American-Irish identity, the British hanged him for treason and they let his English-born wife – also a Nazi propaganda broadcaster – go free. As the Brexit debate demonstrates, Britain’s relationship to Europe is indeed complex. But unlike his daughter’s loyal subjects in the North of Ireland today, Queen Elizabeth’s father King George VI was in no doubt about what his country’s connection to the continent should be.


The war-time monarch was strongly pro-European. And the outbreak of World War II afforded him the platform to express his views: After Britain declared war on Nazi Germany on September 9th 1939, King George was in discussion with Joe Kennedy – the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom – and the father of a future President of the United States of America. An American of Irish extraction, Kennedy told the King that England would bankrupt itself in the new world war and it would do well to get out of it as soon as possible. But three days later, King George – a queit and self-effacing man with sincerely-held-views – penned a letter explaining the relationship between the UK and Europe. He wrote: “England, my country…is part of Europe…we stand on the threshold of we know not what. Misery and suffering of war we know. But what of the future? The British mind is made up. I leave it at that.” As Brexit heads towards conclusion, King George’s words remain eerily prophetic. What of the future indeed.

With many thanks to: Hugh Jordan and The Sunday World for the original story


BBC criticised over Arron Banks slot on Andrew Marr show

Lawyers and MPs condemn plan to interview Brexiter under criminal investigation

Arron Banks the man behind the Brexit campaign

The BBC has been criticised for booking Arron Banks, the pro-Brexit billionaire who is the subject of a criminal investigation, to appear on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday.

Banks is being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA) after his case was referred to it by the Electoral Commission, which said there were reasonable grounds to suspect Banks was “not the true source” of £8m given to the Leave.EU campaign.

Arron Banks faces criminal inquiry over Brexit campaign
Read more
The BBC’s decision provoked widespread condemnation from politicians, lawyers and activists.

Andrew Adonis, a leading remain campaigner, said in a letter to the BBC that Banks’s expected appearance was the result of “a very serious editorial misjudgment, influenced by a culture of accommodation to extreme Brexiteers now deeply embedded within the BBC”.

Caroline Lucas MP and Molly Scott Cato MEP, both Green party politicians, wrote an open letter criticising the decision to allow Banks to “spread misinformation at our expense”.

Molly Scott Cato MEP
Here’s the email to the BBC sent by myself and @CarolineLucas explaining why they should reverse their decision to give a platform to Arron Banks

Please continue with your own complaints about this appalling decision@TheGreenParty

November 3, 2018
Jo Maugham QC, the director of the Good Law Project, tweeted: “How robust Andrew Marr’s questioning is – and he is a good interviewer – is completely beside the point. The interview is an invitation to viewers to choose between what the independent regulator has said and what Arron Banks says. That is a false and dangerous equivalence.”

The BBC spoke to Banks at Gatwick airport on Saturday morning as he returned to the UK from Bermuda.

When asked about the origin of the funds, Banks said: “I certainly won’t be showing you. You know, we’re going to cooperate with the NCA and they’ll have visibility into our accounts.” When pressed further, he said: “Goodbye, I’m not talking to you.”

According to Andy Wigmore, a close associate of Banks, access to the accounts in question has been released to the BBC prior to Sunday’s show, and Banks is expected to refer to a legal opinion to demonstrate that the financial dealings in question were legitimate.

The Electoral Commission said it suspected Banks had tried to knowingly conceal the origin of the money, and that the money was provided through a company based in the Isle of Man.

It said in a report: “Leave.EU, Elizabeth Bilney (the responsible person for Leave.EU), BFTC, Mr Banks, and possibly others, concealed the true details of these financial transactions, including from us, and also did so by knowingly making statutory returns/reports which were incomplete and inaccurate, or false.”

Both Bilney and Banks deny any wrongdoing, with the latter posting a flurry of tweets on Friday evening.

“The Electoral Commission have made a public statement without producing any evidence,” he said. “I am happy to be robustly interviewed.”

In a statement, the BBC said: “There is a strong public interest in an interview with Arron Banks about allegations of funding irregularities in relation to Leave.EU and the 2016 EU referendum.

“The Electoral Commission has laid out concerns about this in public and it is legitimate and editorially justified for Andrew Marr to question Mr Banks robustly about them, which he will do on Sunday morning.”

The Labour MP Ben Bradshaw wrote to Theresa May on Friday to ask whether the government had blocked requests to conduct an investigation into Banks, amid repeated allegations that an inquiry was prevented during her time as home secretary.

With many thanks to: The Guardian for the original story

Follow these links to find out more:

Nice to see shoe on the other foot for a change

This letter appeared in The Irish News yesterday October 22nd 2018

BREXIT and talk of soft and hard Brexits are giving people something to think about, especially if you’re involved in business.

Everyone should be aware at this stage that it’s down to the little Englander mentality, who felt that they were being colonised by an EU parliament whose laws were beginning to precedence over theirs.

An uncomfortable feeling it may be but isn’t it nice to see the shoe on the other foot for a change. It should give them a better understanding of how our ancestors felt when they were deprived of their properties by her majesty’s forces, but the side effect is clearly that they don’t.

English xenophobia is an abhorrence to those who suffered because of it, and it is this blinkered hankering to the past which is threatening to dismantle what’s left of the Union without the likes of enthusiastic Brexiteers, Boris Johnson or Arlene Foster even realising it.

The recent Conservative Party conference was a self-righteous affair of unbridled Euro bashing, comparing the Euro zone to Russia which was an idiotic insult to people like Donald Tusk, president of the European Council who lived under oppressive soviet communism in his native Poland.

Aside from the distasteful attributes of English nationalist Brexiteers, they have no road map, no plan, no clue as to the extent of the mess they have got themselves into, and unfortunately, we are going to suffer because of their folly. Britain exports more foodstuff Ireland than to India, China and Brazil.

The problem for us is that all the big discount stores like Lidl, Aldi Tesco etc have their main distribution centres are based in Britain, meaning tariffs will be applied and if so price hikes on all foodstuffs are a certainty. Arelene Foster who has spoken of blood-red lines being drawn that the DUP will not cross, but if crunch comes to crunch, she will find out that Portadown is not as British as Finchley.

With many thanks to: James Woods Gort an Choirce, Dun na nGall.

DUP using Brexit to kill Good Friday Agreement

LET’S leave aside the intricacies of backstop, and backstop to backstop and have a look at the state of play here.

In the midst of the chaos of the civil war in the Conservative party and the British cabinet two conclusions are clear. First, the role the DUP has played as usual idiots to assist this British government clinging to power – because that’s their sole function – has released dangerous elements in unionism from paying even lip service to the Good Friday Agreement. Secondly, the way that Arlene Foster has zealously carried a sandwich board for Brextremists both in England and here means it’s unlikely she will ever be first minister again.

That’s not only because her language and behaviour have rendered her repellent to nationalists but also because, choosing to side with the dinosaurs in her party, she has boxed herself into a corner where she is unable to deliver any deal with Sinn Féin. As a consequence of all that a return to a Stormont executive is improbable in the foreseeable future.

The other factor preventing a return to a devolved government is that the prime minister’s electoral dependence on the DUP has completely spancelled our clueless proconsul. Since she won’t contemplate an outside arbitrator, that means no other party can take her seriously as a chair because political necessity requires her to be partisan. Besides, look at the calendar. Brexit next March, local government elections in May and then the marching season. In between there’ll probably be an Irish election. Even if talks at Stormont produced a deal there would have to be an election to ratify it. When?

However, there isn’t going to be a deal because the people in ascendant in the DUP, the MPs, don’t want one. They all opposed the Good Friday Agreement and continue to do so, as do many, perhaps the majority, in the DUP. For these people Brexit is an opportunity to

Arlene Foster has left a trail splattered with bile giving no indication that she either wants or needs to reciprocate overtures from Sinn Féin

continue dismantling the GFA. One bonus of the hard border they want is to make redundant the North-South Ministerial Council which the DUP successfully worked hard to ignore and diminish over the past decade and Sinn Féin let them. Next, we hear the refrain from senior right wing Conservatives, including former conspicuous failures as proconsuls here, that the GFA can and should be changed. This theme has been taken up by their sandwich-board woman Foster. Brexit means the GFA has to change we hear. How, is not clear, but the DUP and their Conservative organ grinders are busily creating the climate for removing their undesirable bits, like the absence of a visible border. The DUP has already successfully prevented any meaningful meeting of the British-Irish Inter-governmental Conference, even though devolved government has collapsed.

If there were to be talks about restoring Stormont the starting point would be the deal Arlene Foster was unable to deliver in February. Since then she has hardened her position on the sticking points like the Irish language and equality provisions. If reports of the acrimonious DUP executive meeting last week are anything to go by, one of the main criticisms levelled at Foster was her attendance at the Donegal-Fermanagh match in Clones. That gives you an idea of the chances of making a deal with the DUP.

Instead of trying to move towards conciliating her political opposition in Sinn Féin Foster has scarcely uttered a constructive syllable in the last year. On the contrary, she has left splattered with bile giving no indication that she either wants or needs to reciprocate overtures from Sinn Féin.

As she found last February how, even if she wanted to, will she suddenly reverse direction and close a deal with people she denigrates? How would she convince her own party it’s a good idea, having spent so long dissing the whole project? It’s obvious now there is deep dissatisfaction with Foster in her own party. Its councillors are much exercised by the mess Foster made of RHI and the stench rising from the inquiry which they will have to explain when canvassing next May. Luckily for Foster there’s no heir apparent who wants to take over from her but she has written her own political P45.

With many thanks to: Brian Feeney and The Irish News for the original posting.

Giant Parrot, Species ‘Ara Brexitus’ found in UK.

Giant parrot, species ‘Ara brexitus’ found in UK. Hasn’t moved for 2 years. UK government officials insist it’s not dead and can still fly.

With many thanks to: Scientists for EU for the original posting.