Theresa May has been all over the place during her first fortnight as Prime Minister.

Following her meetings with Nicola Sturgeon and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, she met the Taoiseach (or Prime Minister) of the Republic of Ireland, Enda Kenny in London Yesterday to discuss the UK and RoI’s relationship post-Brexit.

It is an important issue to discuss; as post-Brexit, the Northern Irish/Irish Republic border will be the only land border between the UK and the EU.

Leaders of both countries have said that they want to “maintain the closest possible relationship” between the UK and Ireland after the UK have left the EU.

Mrs May said there was a “strong will” to continue the free movement of people between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, with Mr Kenny adding that he was eager to see Brexit negotiation talks end with an “outward-looking” UK.

But what would Brexit mean for the UK/Irish border?

When Mrs May was campaigning to remain in the EU while she was Home Secretary, she said it was “inconceivable” that Brexit would not affect current border arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Such arrangements that were in place long before the EU was first formed in 1993.

The UK and Ireland first agreed upon the Common Travel Area (CTA) way back in 1923, this was an informal arrangement so that citizens of the UK and Republic of Ireland could travel freely between the two nations without the need for passports.

But seeing as the UK and Republic of Ireland both joined the EU on the same day, it cannot be said that the UK’s exit will not affect the 1923 agreement, as the border has never been one between an EU member and a non-EU member before.

It could be argued that as RoI is not part of the Schengen Zone, previous travel arrangements made pre-EU would hold firm; although EU leaders could argue that as RoI is an EU member, the same travel rules would apply to the UK and Ireland as it does to the EU and all non-member countries.

Whatever agreement is made, it will all come down to the exit deal that the Prime Minister negotiates, as under EU law, any agreement between the UK and the Irish Republic would have to be agreed by all EU member states.

One such solution that has come up is that the land border between the RoI and Northern Ireland remains open; although there would then be a border between the Irish island and the rest of the UK.

However, First Minster of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster held a brief meeting with Mrs May, in which they discussed the future of Northern Ireland post Brexit.

Ms Foster has informed the Prime Minister: “There must be no internal borders within the United Kingdom, and I was very clear with her on that and she responded positively to that”.

Mrs May has said that she is committed to involving all of the Parliaments within the United Kingdom during Brexit negotiations.


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