Chickens coming home to roost as new UK legislation set to cause havoc for EU nationals living on island of Ireland - MEP Kelleher

Published on: 18 January 2022

- MEP wrote to Irish Govt in Jan 2020 warning of risks - 
Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has said that his prediction of serious difficulties for EU/EEA citizens living in the Republic who want to travel to or live in Northern Ireland is now sadly becoming a reality.Kelleher was commenting as the Nationality and Borders Bill was being debated in the British House of Commons this week.“In Jan 2020, I sent a letter to the then Tánaiste, and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney warning the government that major difficulties would be experienced by non-Irish EU citizens post Brexit living in Northern Ireland.“We now have a disgraceful situation, whereby if this bill is passed, that an EU national in a relationship with someone from Northern Ireland will have to apply for permission to cross the border and visit their partner’s family.“At the time, many people scoffed at my letter, and attempted to make it an issue at the start of the General Election. The latest developments prove to me that I was right to raise these issues and it is now abundantly clear that non-Irish EU nationals will suffer even more because of Brexit.“While the Common Travel Area (CTA) allows Irish and UK citizens free movement North and South, and East and West, it does not apply to EU nationals who have made the island of Ireland their home.“At this stage, I am not sure what options are available to these citizens with the exception of securing Irish citizenship but the Irish Government should at the very least engage with the UK Government seeking to extend the rights Irish citizens have under the CTA agreement to permanent EU residents on the island of Ireland. “This requires an urgent response from the Irish and UK governments. Otherwise, Brexit will cause even more harm and damage on this island,” concluded Kelleher.