Sinn Féin MP Órfhlaith Begley has raised the issue of Irish passports not being accepted for identity verification for the COVID19 self-employed income support scheme with HMRC and the Irish Government.
Speaking the West Tyrone MP said:
“In recent days the Sinn Féin MP team met with HMRC and the NIO on a variety of issues, including Brexit and COVID-19 support schemes.
“It’s concerning that it has been over a month since the self-employed income support scheme has been active but Irish passport holders can still not use their passports to verify their identity.
“Many self-employed workers across the North who hold Irish passports have not been able to access this support scheme as the online application does not accept Irish passports as a verified form of identification.
“The Good Friday Agreement commits to rigorous impartiality and enables citizens in the North to hold either an Irish or British passport or both.
“Citizens must have their identity respected and should not be placed at a disadvantage for holding an Irish passport.
“HMRC officials have said that it is a matter for the Irish Government to share information and data for them to verify Irish passports.
“I have written to the Irish Government to request that they facilitate this process in the interest of equal treatment for Irish citizens residing in the north.
“As co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement the Irish Government must act to protect the rights of Irish citizens in the North.
“During the recent Emma De Souza case, the Irish Government acknowledged that more needs to be done to support confidence in the citizenship and identity provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.
“Sinn Féin will continue to actively work to strengthen the citizenship and identity provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.”