Northern Ireland news

British government bill could have 'quite severe' implications for cross-border travel says Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile

There are fears the British government's Nationality and Borders Bill could have serious implications for cross-border travel by non-Irish EU citizens

THE British government's Nationality and Borders Bill could have "quite severe" implications for cross-border travel by non-Irish EU citizens, Sinn Féin's leader in the Seanad has said.

The plans to unilaterally introduce a requirement for non-Irish or non-UK citizens to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) to enter the north have been criticised on both sides of the border.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar last week said Dublin had concerns and objections about the measures, which he planned to raise with counterparts in London.

Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile said yesterday that the bill had the "potential to impact on a range of aspects of people’s lives".

He cited the healthcare sector and tourism in particular.

“It is crazy – the proposed change has implications right across society and Irish life," he said.

The Sinn Féin senator welcome the Dublin government's response, saying it recognised the "severity of the implications of this legislation".

“They need to ensure that their engagement with the British government on this bill is robust and that international understanding and focus is brought to bear regarding the implications of this legislation," he said.

“They must work with EU colleagues to ensure that there is no return to a hard border for anyone living anywhere in Ireland.”

Sponsored by Home Secretary Priti Patel, the bill is currently progressing through Westminster.

Mr Ó Donnghaile said it was important to ensure there was no hardening of the border.

He described the British government's approach as "almost blasé".

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