Sinn Fein Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the call by the EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly for the European Commission to publish the confidential study conducted by the British government and the European Commission in 2017 and which listed 142 cross-border activities on the island of Ireland that would be negatively impacted by a hard Brexit.
The Louth TD submitted a PQ on this issue in October and received a response from the Minister for Foreign Affairs last week in which the Minister placed the onus for publication on the British government and the EU.
Mr. Adams called on the Irish government to publicly press the EU to publish the report. The Louth TD said:
“The 8 December 2017 Joint Report between the British Government and the EU Commission referenced the report of a mapping exercise which shows that “North-South cooperation relies to a significant extent on a common European Union legal and policy framework”. The report warned that the British “departure from the European Union gives rise to substantial challenges to the maintenance and development of North-South cooperation.”
The mapping exercise was a detailed examination of all those areas of North-South co-operation, as provided for by the Good Friday Agreement, which were underpinned by the EU membership of the British and Irish states.
The Good Friday Agreement established six North-South Implementation Bodies and “six areas for cooperation and implementation“. These covered a wide range of issues including, the environment, health, agriculture, transport, education/higher education, tourism, energy, telecommunications, broadcasting, inland fisheries, justice and security, and sport.
It is known that the report identified 142 areas of co-operation between the North and South. Some of these are very detailed. For example, the area of health. It requires equality of patient rights, but also things like single standards for medical devices, the approval of medicines at EU level, mutual recognition of medical qualifications, mutual acceptance of cross border ambulance activity. Cross border health co-operation also includes heart surgery in Dublin for children from the North, as well as cancer treatment in Derry for people from the South.
There are also joint initiatives on shared waterways and agreement to treat the entire island as one epidemiological entity for the purpose of animal diseases.
I am calling on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to urgently press the EU Commission to publish this confidential report. In the context of the Withdrawal Agreement reached last week between the British government and the EU it is imperative that citizens on this island understand fully the consequences of Brexit and especially of a bad Brexit on matters that affect their daily lives.