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Thousands of cross border people missing out

13 May, 2008


Thousands of people who daily cross the border to work, study or retire are missing out on entitlements and services, Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness told guests at an information event in Derry.

He said another issue, especially for young people, is how educational qualifications translate across the border.

Mr McGuinness was speaking at a special event to promote a new 'one-stop shop' website for the 23,000 people who commute across the border each day.

The www.borderpeople.info website provides a wealth of information and an online advice service.

The minister said:

"Our research into the development of the economy across this island has highlighted the fact that thousands of cross border users are missing out on entitlements and services.

"It is vital that people can access information and find out what they are entitled to. A huge issue for many young people is how educational qualifications translate and for many families, the difficulties of accessing information about social welfare and health care entitlements are a growing concern.

"One of the main difficulties for people is identifying a resource that is dedicated to providing relevant, up-to-date, credible information. The Border People website is an important online resource to help people find the answers to their questions with the simple click of a button.

"It signposts people to the most relevant information sources and provides 'case studies' illustrating the dilemmas facing such people and suggesting ways to resolve these," the deputy First Minister explained.

The website is structured around the four concepts of 'Commute', 'Work', 'Live', and 'Study' and includes information on issues such as taxation, social security, recruitment, health care, social services, childcare, transport, telecoms, insurance, housing, banking and education.

It is aimed at lowering cross border mobility obstacles and providing accurate up-to-date data about the extent of cross border mobility.

Did you know that 14million cars cross the border between Dundalk and Newry every year? That at least 18,000 workers and 5,200 students cross the border every day to work or study? That 1.7million people cross the border by bus or train every year for short-term visits? These statistics, along with all the other information, required to ensure simplified cross-border mobility are contained in www.borderpeople.info.

Notes to Editors

Mr McGuinness was speaking at an information event in the City Hotel, Derry to support the online resource which is part-financed by the European Union Peace and Reconciliation Programme.

Border People is an initiative of the North South Ministerial Council. (www.northsouthministerialcouncil.org )

It is managed and developed by the Centre for Cross Border Studies (www.crossborder.ie) in partnership with Citizens Advice Belfast (www.citizensadvice.co.uk), Citizens Information Board Dublin (www.citizensinformation.ie) and the Borderwise Project (www.borderwise.ie). The IT development and hosting is provided by the Delivery and Innovation Division of the Department of Finance and Personnel (www.dfpni.gov.uk/index/delivery-and-innovation.htm)

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