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Daily Life

Published: 4 November 2019
From: Department of the Taoiseach

Brexit is likely to affect some day-to-day consumer issues, particularly in a no deal scenario. In such a no deal scenario, the departure of the UK from the EU is likely to create some confusion, and on occasion difficulty, around your consumer rights and options.

Here you can find information on how services like banking, online shopping, food prices and energy supply may be affected.

Government is working with our EU partners to help mitigate some of these matters further to help EU citizens where possible.


Ireland and the UK have a number of areas in the provision of healthcare where we are interconnected.

Some of our medicines are moved through the UK to get to Ireland. However, Ireland is unlikely to face general medicines supply issues in the period immediately post-Brexit, even in a no deal scenario. This is because there are already additional stocks of medicines routinely built into the Irish medicine supply chain.

Both the Irish and British Governments are committed to maintaining the current healthcare arrangements under the Common Travel Area . Under the CTA, Irish citizens and British citizens who live in, work in, or visit the other state have the right to access healthcare there. Other North South cooperation arrangements will also continue on the island of Ireland.

The Government is working to ensure that new arrangements will provide for continued access to the health services between Ireland and the UK, including on the island of Ireland, which patients in both jurisdictions currently access.

General medical supplies

The pharmaceutical industry and medicines wholesalers, who are working closely with Government in this area, are confident there are enough stocks of medicines in the country to manage any potential supply issues at ports.

Anyone with an ongoing need for medicines should fill their prescription as normal.

You do not need to order extra quantities of medicines or extra prescriptions ahead of Brexit. If you do, you could disrupt existing stock levels and hamper the supply of medicines for other patients.

If you do have any concerns, please speak to your pharmacist.

Access to health services

Irish citizens and British citizens who live in, work in, or visit the other State will continue to have the right to access healthcare there. Government has introduced legislation to ensure these access arrangements can be maintained post-Brexit, even in the event of no deal.

For more information on health related matters post-Brexit, please visit the Department of Health and the Health Services Executive .

Cross border access to health services

Cross border health services (like the cardiology and cancer treatments in Altnagelvin, Derry and paediatric cardiology and maternity services in Dublin) are managed by service level agreements. Even in a no deal Brexit scenario, services like these can be expected to continue.

Both the Irish and UK Governments are fully committed to continuing existing cross border arrangements.


Your bank account

The five largest retail banks operating in Ireland are regulated by the Central Bank. Therefore, it is not expected that these services will be impacted for consumers. However, UK financial services firms operating in Ireland will have to take steps to be authorised to operate within the EU. We expect that the majority of firms will take appropriate action to continue to provide services across the EU.

Consumers are advised to contact their banking/financial services providers if they have any concerns. The Central Bank also has more information.

Making or receiving financial payments

SEPA is the Single Euro Payments Area which enables payment transfers in euro between accounts in SEPA countries.

The UK Government committed to keep its payment rules in line with SEPA in order to continue its access post Brexit. Continued access has now been approved and Brexit should not affect transfers in euro moving between accounts in the UK and accounts in the EU.

Customers should contact their finance provider if they have any further queries. The Central Bank also has more information.

Insurance cover

The majority of insurance firms selling policies from the UK and Gibraltar into Ireland are implementing plans to ensure service continuity post-Brexit, including in the event of a no deal Brexit. The Government has also planned legislation to ensure continuity of service for existing contracts for a period of three-years.

If you have any concerns about your insurance policy, you should contact your insurance provider. For further information, see the Central Bank website.

For information on motor insurance, please see travelling and visiting.

Energy supply

Irish electricity supply, transport fuels, gas and coal are secure and Brexit does not give cause for concern that these will be disrupted.


When the UK leaves the EU, UK based channels can continue to provide services in Ireland once they have an EU broadcasting licence in place.

Government has worked with the sector, including the major broadcasting service providers in Ireland, to ensure they are fully aware of these requirements. The UK has also undertaken to ensure that RTÉ and TG4 continue to be available in Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

If you have any concerns, you are advised to contact your TV provider directly.

Food supply

It is important to note that Ireland exports more food than it imports. We will have food in the event of a no deal Brexit. If however there is no deal, recent commentary points out that currency fluctuation coupled with trade tariffs might mean an impact on costs of imports.

Irish consumers will continue to have the option, as they do today, to choose from range of products from across the world. In addition, distributors, manufacturers and retailers have been working hard and making considerable investment to sustain supplies, increase warehousing and on other contingency measures.

Suppliers continue to have alternative choices of products thanks to our EU membership and the Single Market.

Mobile phones and roaming

In the event of no deal, mobile operators would no longer be legally required to offer roaming at no additional charge to customers travelling to the UK when they exit the EU. That is a commercial decision for mobile operators.

However, a no deal Brexit does not mean that mobile operators will necessarily apply new charges. The three main mobile providers here have indicated that there will be no changes to the current roaming arrangements for their customers. Either way, all operators must make customers well aware of any roaming charges they could incur, if and when, they use mobile devices in the UK. If you have any concerns, you should contact your provider directly.

ComReg , the independent telecoms regulator, will continue to ensure that all providers meet relevant obligations in areas such as roaming alerts. ComReg also has information for customers in relation to roaming on their website , including tips on how to avoid inadvertent roaming.

Online retail

Currently when you buy something from outside the EU, you pay VAT when the value is over €22 and you pay import charges on items over €150. When the UK leaves the EU, these costs will apply to items from the UK. Therefore, you are advised to make sure you:

  • Know where the company you are buying from is based.
  • Always read the retailer’s terms and conditions carefully before buying, particularly around your rights to cancel the order, exchange or return the good. If the website is not based in the EU, this becomes even more important.
  • Find out what VAT and import charges you may have to pay, before ordering from outside the EU, For further details you can contact Revenue . You should also check directly with the delivery company if any processing fees etc. will apply.

Further information in relation to online retail and Brexit is available from the Competition and Consumer Protection Agency . The EU Commission has also produced a useful factsheet on this topic.

Consumer rights

EU consumer law will not apply to and in the UK after its departure from the EU. Current redress mechanisms, as provided for under EU consumer law, will therefore not be available. For example, if you are in a dispute with a UK-based trader, you may not be able to avail of the European Consumer Centre network or the European Small Claims Procedure.

However, consumers in Ireland can take individual action through the Irish Courts if they have purchased online from UK traders who do business in the EU.

Further information on your consumer rights in relation to Brexit is available from the Competition and Consumer Protection Agency . The EU Commission has also produced a useful factsheet on this topic.

Data protection

Schools, colleges and state agencies are working to ensure adequate data protection including engagement, where relevant, with UK counterparts. The EU Commission has also produced a useful factsheet that covers this topic.

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