01 Jul 2022

Ukrainians living in Dundalk are not able to travel to the North unless they have a visa

Ukrainians living in Dundalk are not able to travel to the North unless they have a visa

Ukrainians living in Dundalk are not able to travel to the North for sight-seeing or shopping unless they have a visa, Sinn Féin TD Ruairí Ó Murchú said.

The Dundalk deputy said he had the issue highlighted last week after a constituent, who is looking after Ukrainian refugees in her home, contacted him for advice.

Ukrainians who have come to the State following the outbreak of the war have been granted "temporary protection" but this does not cover them for travel into the North, Deputy Ó Murchú said.

He said: "When I was contacted by a constituent who was looking after Ukrainian refugees and who asked about taking them to the North for shopping and sight-seeing, I looked into the matter.

"Unfortunately, the Common Travel Area, which allows people who live on both sides of the border to travel freely between the two jurisdictions, does not apply to those who are under temporary protection.

"Ukrainians, and those looking after them, may think that they can travel into the North, to Newry or Belfast, but they run the risk of being detained if they do not have the correct visa."

He said that Ukrainians living in the South are able to apply for visas through the British government, but biometrics are required and each visa will cost £100.

Deputy Ó Murchú said: "Yet again, we see the effects of partition and how it impacts on people’s lives in so many ways.

"This has been amplified and complicated by Brexit, of course, and the British government’s anti-immigration stance.

"We have seen in recent days the British government’s continued push of the Nationality and Borders Bill through the Houses of Parliament, while also the threat of legislation to undermine the Irish Protocol, and tourism organisations here have rightly pointed out the massive damage that could be done".

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