Ireland will cite the common travel area to exempt Irish citizens working in the UK from new EU measures to curb in-work benefits and welfare payments to EU migrants in the UK
Dublin points out Protocol 20 of the EU Treaty recognises the UK and Ireland’s common travel area which long pre-dates both states’ accession to the Common Market in 1972.
The treaty states: “The UK and Ireland may continue to make arrangements between themselves relating to the movement of persons between their territories. Nothing in Articles 26 and 77 of the Treaty on the “functioning of the European Union, in any other provision of that Treaty or of the Treaty on European Union or in any measure adopted under them, shall affect any such arrangements.”
Britain and Ireland enjoy a special relationship covering not just the common travel area – including the issue of joint visas to visitors from China – but shared arrangements on a social welfare and voting.
The common travel area was established in 1923 just after the War of Independence and is an administrative agreement between Britain and Ireland.
Under it Irish nationals in this country have special status under British nationality law and British nationals have special status under Irish immigration law.
Bilateral agreements on social welfare between the two countries date back more than 50 years and until 1979 Ireland’s currency was pegged to sterling.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny met Prime Minister David Cameron at the EU summit in Brussels last week and lobbied other EU leaders to give the British Premier a deal to fend off Brexit campaigners in the UK.
Mr. Kenny said Ireland would continue to make its views known about the unique status of Irish citizens living in Britain to the British Government.
Mr. Cameron told MPs in the Commons last week that: “I seem to recall from conversations I had with the Taoiseach that there are particular arrangements for the common travel area.”