Clarification needed on all-Ireland travel scheme – O’Sullivan

Published on: 04 February 2020

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Padraig O’Sullivan has called for urgent clarification on the status of the all-Ireland free travel scheme, after a number of pensioners were told that it no longer exists because the terms were not included as part of the Brexit deal.

This time last year the Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection claimed, that the government was “currently reviewing the contractual arrangements with Translink, the company contracted to supply the senior smartpass card which is based in the UK, in Belfast and Hull, to ensure that we have full compliance with the data protection obligations under GDPR. This work is well advanced and necessary and it will be completed before B-day.”

Deputy O’Sullivan said, “There is complete confusion over the all-Ireland travel pass at the moment. I have been talking to several pensioners who have tried to renew their pass for this year, only to be told that it no longer exists.

“This directly contradicts what the Minister told people last year and now older people, here in Cork and right across the country will be unable to avail of free travel in Northern Ireland.

“I am calling on the Minister to clarify the situation. We were told that everything would be ready before the UK left the EU and yet here we have a situation where older people are having their travel plans curtailed.

“I am worried that if there is an issue with the travel pass, there could be issues with other services as well. We need clarity on this issue without delay.

“The outgoing government assured people that there would be no impact on cross border services, yet now we have a situation where older people are being told that they can no longer travel to Northern Ireland with their travel pass.

“Minister Doherty needs to clarify this issue and I am urging her to do so as quickly as possible”.

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