Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the Government will express its objections and concerns to the British government about a proposal that would see non-Irish EU citizens living in the Republic having to apply online for pre-travel clearance from the UK to cross the Border.
Under the Nationality and Borders Bill, non-Irish EU/EEA citizens will be required to apply for a US-style visa waiver known as an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) before entering the UK, including when crossing the land Border into Northern Ireland.
The Bill is part of a wider, post-Brexit overhaul of the UK’s immigration laws and includes provisions on asylum seekers, nationality and immigration control.
Speaking in the Dáil on Thursday, Mr Varadkar said Dublin was “certainly going to communicate to our UK counterparts our concerns and our objections to this measure”.
“Unfortunately, it does not come as a huge surprise,” he added.
Mr Varadkar was responding to Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty, who said Ireland was facing the prospect of “collateral damage” from “a Tory government in Westminster that doesn’t give a damn” about this country.
Mr Varadkar said: “The deputy may recall that part of the argument in favour of Brexit was about controlling UK borders and reducing and stopping immigration from the EU.
“This is part of the outworking of that. It may be the case that some people who voted for Brexit did not realise that, but it is part of the outworking of Brexit that the UK is going to harden its borders and reduce immigration, including from the EU.
“Ending free movement was a big part of the argument that they made, but we will absolutely be making our views known.”
Mr Doherty described the British proposal as “bizarre”.
“It’s so disgraceful, it’s such a shameful measure, it threatens livelihoods and particularly the tourism sector in my own region of the northwest.
“It places massive stress on residents here in this State from other EU countries, it undermines the Good Friday agreement and the Common Travel Area.
“Ireland once again faces the prospect