The Taoiseach has confirmed in the Dáil that the Government is preparing legislation that would allow Northern Ireland citizens to access EU emergency health care after the UK leaves the European Union.

At present EU citizens are allowed to access public system health services if they become ill or have an accident in another EU member state.

Citizens travelling abroad often carry a European Health Insurance Card, issued free of charge by the health authorities in their home country. 

Leo Varadkar confirmed that the Cabinet has approved draft legislation that deals with providing European Health Insurance cover for citizens of Northern Ireland.

The Government sees its initiative as consistent with the provision of the Good Friday Agreement that entitles those born in Northern Ireland to identify as British or Irish or both.

It is expected that the Government's European Health Insurance Card provision would apply to British and Irish passport holders in Northern Ireland.

The full details of how the initiative will operate will become available when the proposed legislation is finalised.