There’s no easy way to get out of your EU obligations, as Ireland finds out

As EU Member States, Ireland and, at least until March 2019, the United Kingdom, are required to implement EU Directives. An EU Directive is a legal act of the European Union which requires Member States to achieve a particular result without dictating the means of achieving that result. This leaves an element of discretion to the Member States as to how they choose to transpose the Directive into the laws of the State.

The Irish Government, in particular the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport recently came under criticism for the manner in which they adopted one particular EU Directive. The High Court in Ireland directed that the Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport quash a Marine Notice, which purported to transpose an EU Directive regarding the mutual recognition of appropriate certificates, including certificates of competency and proficiency, as the Notice had no legal basis. The question as to the the lawfulness of the Marine Notice arose as a result of the refusal of the Irish Marine Survey Office (MSO) to recognise training provided to seafarers which is accredited by Britain and offered in Ireland.

The effect of the Marine Notice was that certification offered in Ireland and approved by the British equivalent of the MSO, The Maritime & Coastguard Agency, which is regarded as the ‘Gold Standard’ by seafarers, was not automatically recognised under Irish Law. This was found to be unlawful and the High Court directed that the certificates of proficiency issued by SEFtec NMCI Offshore Training Limited (SNO) at the National Maritime College of Ireland in Cork, falling under the umbrella of the Cork Institute of Technology, should be recognised.

The UK won’t get out of its obligations to the EU quite so easily, even when “crunch” time comes around. We may find more and more issues similar to the above arising as a fallout of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, particularly where legislation relates to UK and Irish relations. After March 2019, and in the meantime as ongoing issues of trade, import, freedom of movement of goods and people are yet to be determined, it is not known how EU legislation, including cross-border and mutually beneficial agreements between Ireland and the UK, will play out.

At Meaby&Co, we are specialists in dealing with cross-border and international issues, particularly in Ireland. We have a team of dual-qualified solicitors ready and willing to chat to you about issues which may cause you concern, and we can help ensure that you are best prepared and protected, as an Irish or UK Resident, when March 2019 rolls around.

Contact Caoimhe Boyce at Meaby&Co on cboyce@meaby.co.uk to speak to us today.

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