Northern Ireland news

Poland's honorary consul warns of border check disruption

The electronic travel authorisation would be similar to the visa waiver system operated by the US authorities
John Manley and

PLANS to introduce border checks for non-Irish nationals have been described as "crazy" by the north's honorary Polish consul.

Jerome Mullen told The Irish News that British government proposals for an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) for any non-Irish national entering the UK – including Northern Ireland – would cause "major disruption and distress" to thousands.

The requirement would be similar to the visa waiver system operated by the US authorities.

Mr Mullen said non-Irish EU nationals living in the south and working in the north would be adversely affected by what be described as "unnecessary bureaucracy".

He estimated that up to 4,000 non-Irish EU nationals would cross the border daily for work purposes.

The honorary Polish consul said a post-Brexit frontier workers permit scheme had been introduced earlier this year and it was uncertain whether the proposed requirements would supersede those existing arrangements.

"This will cause major inconvenience and in some cases divide families who live and work on both sides of the border," he said.

"I have all sorts of concerns about its implementation – for instance, who is going to enforce it? Are people who don't have the necessary authorisation going to be arrested and charged with being illegal immigrants? – it's completely crazy."

Mr Mullen said he planned to raise the matter with the Polish Consulate in Belfast.

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