On 23 June 2016 the United Kingdom (UK) voted to leave the European Union (EU).

Within the Executive Office, the EU Future Relations division was set up to coordinate work across NICS Departments relating to the UK leaving the EU and to ensure that the UK Government has a full understanding of Northern Ireland issues.

To ensure strong co-ordination at key levels across Government, a Programme Board was established. This is chaired by the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, David Sterling and has representation at Permanent Secretary level from those Departments most impacted by EU Exit issues.

Across the NICS, individual Departments have undertaken a range of activities to analyse and understand the impacts and implications of the UK’s exit from the EU. Departments are also considering the domestic operability of legislation in relation to the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 which is designed to transfer the EU acquis into UK law.

Due to the dynamic nature of this programme of work, the content contained in this section of the website is not an exhaustive source of information. It will be updated on an ongoing basis.

nidirect is the official government website for Northern Ireland citizens and it will be updated with information on EU Exit from government departments and agencies as and when it becomes available.


In August 2016, the then First Minister and deputy First Minister wrote to the Prime Minister setting out the Executive's initial assessment following the EU referendum result.

In the absence of a Northern Ireland Executive, the priorities highlighted in this letter remain our key focus:

  • Frictionless movement of people, goods and services
  • Trade and access to labour
  • Energy market
  • Future funding and investment
  • Agri-Food sector including Fisheries
  • Belfast/Good Friday Agreement: North/South co-operation and Rights
  • Justice cooperation

Across the NICS officials have been working to inform the UK’s approach and to consistently communicate our top priorities.

View the letter to the Prime Minister from the then First Minister and deputy First Minister via the link below:

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