British Ambassador writes letter to British citizens in Ireland with advice

Galway daily

The British Ambassador to Ireland has written an online letter giving advice to British Citizens living in Ireland about which actions they need to take to prepare for the end of the UK transition period on 31 December.

According to 2016 Irish Census, over 100,000 UK nationals live in Ireland, with 50% living in small towns and rural areas.

The letter written by Paul Johnston reads: “The Transition Period following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU ends on 31 December 2020. The UK and Irish governments both want to make sure any changes impact on you as little as possible.

“But there will be certain changes for which it is important to be prepared. Therefore, as we approach the end of the year, I want to explain what this means for you and your family, and to summarise the key things that you need to be aware of.”

The letter says that the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU ‘protects the rights of British citizens living in the EU broadly as they are now’.

“As a British citizen living in Ireland, many of your rights are additionally protected under the Common Travel Area (CTA),” it says.

“This unique and longstanding arrangement pre-dates the UK’s (and Ireland’s) entry into the EU.

“Our two governments signed an agreement in 2019 that reaffirmed our commitment to the CTA, which will continue in all circumstances, i.e. whether or not the EU and UK reach a further agreement before the end of the Transition Period.

“This means that you will still be able to travel freely between Ireland and the UK, and to live, work, study and vote (in certain elections) in Ireland, as well as to access social welfare benefits and health services on the same basis as Irish citizens, just as you can now.

“But the CTA does not cover every aspect of life. There may be some actions you need to take, in particular concerning your driving licence, passport, and professional qualifications.

“Also, if you have any non-EEA family members or dependants living with you, there may also be some further actions they will need to take.

“These changes will take place regardless of the outcome of the negotiations, i.e. with or without a further UK/EU agreement. Therefore it’s really important that you read the information below, and take action now, if you need to.”