Sinn Féin MLA Cathy Mason has said British Government legislation to impose visa restrictions on travel between the north and south of Ireland is offensive and potentially devastating to the tourist industry here.
Under the proposals, Irish residents without an Irish passport, or tourists who wish to visit the North from the south, would need to obtain and pay for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA).
The party’s tourism spokesperson said:
“Sinn Féin has directly and consistently challenged the British Home Office on this legislation because it is not only offensive and reckless but potentially devastating to the tourist industry.
“We met with local business yesterday, who along with tourism and hospitality groups, have also been very clear in their opposition to this legislation and the British government’s total lack of understanding about the damaging impact it will have on the island of Ireland.
“Despite claims by the DUP leader last year that this will have no impact on tourism here, that is not the reality being faced by the tourism industry who are genuinely anxious about the impact of this bizarre legislation.
“This part of our island has so much to offer in terms of tourism but any requirement for visitors to apply and pay for post-Brexit waivers will obviously cause huge damage to our potential to continue to grow this industry.
“More than half a million tourists journey across the island each year, spending £250 million in the local economy, and we cannot allow that to be jeopardised so these plans need to be scrapped.
“Sinn Féin will continue to directly challenge the British government on this absurd legislation and we also urge the Irish government to use all the influence at its disposal to oppose it.”