Hazzard condemns lack of clarity on cross-border workers scheme
South Down Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has criticised the British government’s planned legislation for a new permit scheme for cross-border workers.
Speaking after 16 organisations in the North signed a joint letter expressing concern about the planned scheme, the South Down MP said: “This week the Committee on the Administration of Justice and 15 other groups sent a joint letter to the Secretary of State outlining serious concerns around the Frontier Workers Scheme.
“This scheme is intended to provide vital rights protections to those who travel over the border to work.
“Up to 30,000 people on the island of Ireland are cross-border workers. They will be losing access to vital EU protections next year, and the scheme intended to replace that is nowhere near up and running.
“No consultation was done before the legislation for this scheme was introduced. It is shameful that unions and rights groups have had to release a public letter in order to make their views known to the British government.
“As is often the case with Brexit issues, it is Ireland’s border communities who will suffer the most. Cross-border workers are a vital part of the border economy, and the least they deserve is a scheme that is delivered promptly and transparently.”
“Sinn Féin will be urgently raising this with both the Minister for the Economy, and the British Home Secretary to urge them to listen to the concerns of cross border workers,” added Mr Hazzard.
Hazzard pushes British Govt on EU Benefits for Northern Citizens.
Chris Hazzard MP has pushed the British Government this week on the need to ensure citizens living in the North of Ireland will continue to enjoy EU benefits such as the EU Health Insurance Card, Horizon 2020, and Erasmus+ programmes.
The South Down MP met with the British Government’s Michael Gove MP who provided an update on ongoing Brexit negotiations and the work of the Joint Committee.
Mr Hazzard said: “Sinn Féin have been clear since the Brexit referendum in 2016 that the protection of full and equal access to EU benefits, such as the EU Health Insurance Card, Horizon 2020 research funding and Erasmus+ programmes, are vital in protecting the rights of Irish citizens living in the North of Ireland.
“I reiterated the importance of this issue to Michael Gove today, and pushed him to ensure that the British Government recognise their responsibility in proactively contributing to EU programmes in order to protect the rights of Irish citizens living in the north of Ireland.
“Whilst I welcome the fact that Michael Gove was receptive to this ask today, and indeed confirmed that work is ongoing in this regard, it will be vitally important that the Irish Government remain vigilant and committed to ensure these promises are fulfilled by the British Government in the weeks ahead.”
The UK is set to leave the EU on the 31st December and there are still a number of key issues that need to be resolved.