Sinn Féin’s leader in the Seanad, Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile, has criticised the publication of the British government’s ‘New Plan For Immigration’, warning it does nothing to address fears that people travelling across Ireland could be subject to visa requirements as a result of Westminster’s ‘Nationality and Borders Act’.
Speaking today, Senator Ó Donnghaile said:
“Sinn Féin have always been clear that Brexit is deeply damaging for the people of Ireland. Westminster’s ‘Nationality & Borders Act’ demonstrated these negative consequences by introducing the unacceptable prospect of visa requirements for certain people travelling across this island.
“As I have stated repeatedly, I am entirely opposed to any such move which would be an affront to the Good Friday Agreement and would cause untold damage to community, societal and business relations on the island.
“In May this year, the Seanad voted unanimously in support of a Sinn Féin motion rejecting the introduction of a Electronic Travel Waiver for non-Irish and non-British citizens travelling from the South into the North of Ireland. This sent the strong message to Westminster that these proposed changes are totally unacceptable.
“Westminster’s ‘Nationality & Borders Act’ will have a significant impact on tourism, education, healthcare and community life here in Ireland as thousands of journeys are made across the border each and everyday.
“Their legislation undermines both the Common Travel Area and the Good Friday Agreement.
“Several British Government representatives have said they are working to, belatedly, take these issues into consideration. Yet the plan launched by the British Home Secretary yesterday demonstrates, in typical fashion, zero evidence of any consideration being given to the impact on the life, economy and wellbeing of people here in Ireland. This is totally unacceptable.
“I am calling on the Irish government to assert diplomatic pressure to ensure that these appalling changes do not come into effect. Sinn Féin will stand up for communities to ensure that their rights are not undermined by Brexit. Our communities will not accept being used as collateral damage by the Tory government.”