Sinn Féin’s Leader in the Seanad, Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile, has called on the British government to reconsider their planned introduction of electronic travel authorisation requirements for all-Ireland tourism.
His comments follow remarks by Minister Steve Baker in the House of Commons today, where he ruled out calls for an exemption to the requirement for tourists visiting Ireland.
Speaking today, Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile said:
“It would be entirely inappropriate and unworkable for the British government to require a travel authorisation for people from ‘third countries’ travelling from the south to the north of Ireland.
“This would result in non-British and non-Irish nationals facing restrictions when travelling across Ireland.
“Ireland’s tourism is all-island. This unnecessary paperwork would be an inconvenience and also add additional cost, which risks disrupting tourists visiting all of Ireland. This undermines the tourism industry and risks reducing numbers visiting the north, with knock-on effects for the northern economy.
“This policy would also impact on some of those travelling between jurisdictions for work or study. Its ramifications will be far reaching.
“A key gain of the Irish peace process was the ability to travel throughout Ireland unobstructed. I am concerned that these new requirements unsettle that dynamic.
“For years now, I have been outlining my opposition to these proposals. It has been clear from the outset that they were designed with a view to pursuing the narrow agenda of the Conservative party in Britain, with no consideration as to how this work would in reality in Ireland.
“I am urging the British government to put an immediate halt to these unfair, unreasonable and unworkable proposals.”