British Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that the rights of Irish people living in the UK will remain in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The announcement means thousands of Irish people living and working in Britain will not face the prospect of being forced to leave their homes and lives in their adopted country.
The issue of the UK exiting the EU has been one of concern for Ireland, given that thousands of Irish people have made the UK their home, and their rights would be in question depending on the terms of the exit deal.
However, Mrs May has assured Irish citizens that the common travel area rules that exist between the two countries will stay in place, even if her cabinet has to update the laws to make this so.
The technical notice from the Department for Exiting the European Union read: “If you are an Irish citizen you would continue to have the right to enter and remain in the UK, as now. You are not required to do anything to protect your status.
“In addition, you would continue to enjoy the reciprocal rights associated with the common travel area in the same way that British citizens in Ireland would if there is no deal.
“These rights include the right to work, study and vote, access to social welfare benefits and health services.”
The issue came to the fore as Britain warned the EU it will refuse to pay its €44bn divorce bill if no Brexit deal is reached.
The negotiations between the UK and the EU remain tense.
British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab recently wrote in the Daily Telegraph that “the government would not pay the terms of the financial settlement” if there fails to be a Brexit deal, saying “there’s no deal without the whole deal”.