Thursday, 16 February 2017: The Department of Social Protection hosted a Stakeholder Engagement on Brexit today on the theme ‘Ireland and UK: social welfare pensions, rights and entitlements’. Representing a citizen-centred and client-focussed forum, the event was attended by business, trade unions, civil society and representative groups, academia, TDs and Senators. Mark Durkan, MP also attended.
Today’s event covered a range of issues relating to social welfare including family benefits, unemployment, sickness and maternity benefits and old age and survivor benefits.
Minister Varadkar gave the opening address at the event. Earlier this month, the Minister met with his counterpart in the UK, Damian Green, MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. At this meeting, Minister Varadkar and Secretary of State Green discussed the social protection implications of the vote by the UK to leave the EU. Minister Varadkar did emphasise Ireland’s concerns to ensure that they are fully understood and reflected when negotiations commence.
The stakeholders attending today’s event were told at the outset that the Department’s long-term objective is to ensure that the reciprocity of civic rights, specifically social welfare rights and entitlements. These social welfare rights currently exist for Irish and UK citizens moving within Ireland and between Ireland and Britain under the Common Travel Area, are safeguarded and maintained.
Niamh O’Donoghue, Secretary General of the Department of Social Protection addressed the stakeholder event: “This stakeholder event is an opportunity for you to engage with us in identifying and further developing the thinking on the challenges that Brexit presents in the broad space that is social security. Your involvement and participation in this event will contribute to the Government’s analysis on how to respond to the impact of Brexit.”
The contributions from today’s Stakeholder engagement will be considered at the second Plenary All Island Civic Dialogue which takes place tomorrow in Dublin Castle.