Wednesday, 8 Feb 2023

Legislation needed to maintain access to healthcare in Northern Ireland in event of no deal Brexit

LEGISLATION is needed to maintain continued access to healthcare in Northern Ireland currently covered by EU rules in a no deal Brexit.

The government has published the general scheme of the so-called mega-bill that the Dáil will need to pass to prepare Ireland for a no deal Brexit if the UK crash out in March.

The legislation covers several areas including grant provisions for students studying in the UK, cross border rail services and greater powers for Enterprise Ireland to provide additional investment, loans and RD&I grants in the event of a no deal Brexit.

Legislation will need to be passed to allow the HSE to “cover cost of healthcare provided in the UK under the same conditions as currently”, such as when treatments are not provided under our own healthcare system or if an Irish person becomes ill while on a visit to the UK.

Currently this is allowed under EU rules on cross-border healthcare.

The Government said in a statement today that “ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement is still the Government’s preferred outcome” but that preparations must be put in place to prepare for a no deal scenario.

It is likely that additional sitting time would be needed for the Dáil and the Seanad to pass the emergency legislation in time for March 29.

The note on legislation published today runs to some 95 pages pointing to the significant challenges posed by a crash out Brexit.

Other areas including in the megabill includes taxation changes and the continued operation of the all-island Single Electricity Market.

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