‘Brexit threatens thousands of cross border commuters’ - Kearney
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Employment and Workers’ Rights Declan Kearney MLA, has criticised the Tory party’s reckless Brexit policy and its potential impact on cross border commuters.
He was commenting after the latest Irish census figures showed that as many as 7,037 workers commute across the border on a daily basis. County Donegal accounts for the largest number of cross border commuters, with a total of 5,600 workers, or 76 per cent of the overall total, travelling to County Derry every day.
“The recent census figures are a graphic illustration of just how reliant Irish workers are on freedom of movement,” Declan Kearney said.
“However, the Centre for Cross Border Studies believes the total number of cross border commuters is much higher. It estimates that approximately 23,000 cross-border commuters travel to places of employment both north and south every day.
"This reality reinforces the imperative of the Irish Government acting in our national interest. It must hold firm on the backstop agreement which guarantees workers their freedom of movement across the island.
"The 'little Englander' rhetoric coming from the Tory conference and its DUP allies will understandably cause even greater concern for cross border commuters about how they will access their jobs in a post Brexit context, and how the regional economy of the border counties will function.
"Sinn Fein will not be deflected in our commitment to continue standing up for border communities and cross border workers on these issues. Clearly the best way to address all these combined challenges is through Designated Special Status for the north within the EU; but in its absence we will continue pressing for all governments and parties to honor the backstop agreement as the minimum acceptable option to protect jobs, citizens' rights, trade, investment, and the island economy.”