Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher has written to the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection seeking clarity for cross-border employees who have lost their jobs or been temporarily laid-off regarding their eligibility for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Senator Gallagher, who has written to the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation seeking clarity on the matter, explained, “It’s estimated that more than 30,000 people cross the border every day for work. Given the current circumstances many of them have now been temporarily laid-off.

“Normally during a temporary layoff, a person can claim a social welfare payment in the country of their latest employment, but the emergency COVID-19 pandemic payment is only available to persons residing in the Republic of Ireland.

“Despite this rule there are some Northern Ireland residents already receiving the emergency COVID-19 payment. It’s illogical that it would be paid out under some circumstances but not others.

“There needs to be cooperation between Ministers North and South to ensure these cross-border workers are not left stranded and there needs to be greater clarity as to who is entitled to it.

“Former employees living in Northern Ireland and working in the Republic of Ireland where businesses have had to close and are temporarily laid off with no payment from the employer are being told to apply for social security in the North. The payment in Northern Ireland is means tested and they have no stamps built up – they’re stuck in limbo.

“People have contacted me who have received different answers from Social Welfare, Citizens Information, and other sources. These employees paid their taxes when they worked and now deserve clarity on how the new regulations, and any future moves which may be introduced by either government, will apply to them.

“I look forward to receiving the reply from the Minister and providing more clarity on this matter,” concluded Senator Gallagher.