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Exclusion from EU youth travel programme denies rights of Irish citizens in the North - Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile

20 April, 2022 - by Niall Ó Donnghaile

Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile has called for an end to the exclusion of Irish and EU citizens based in the North from the DiscoverEU youth travel programme.

The initiative gives 35,000 18-year-olds across the European Union free one-month interrailing passes. 

Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile said:

“Young Irish and EU citizens in the North today are dismayed to learn that they will be excluded from the DiscoverEU initiative.

“Irish passport holders in the North are every bit as Irish and every bit as European as those considered eligible for this programme.

“This is a denial of their rights, and yet another injustice as a consequence of Brexit, something the people in the North voted against.

“This programme should be open to all EU citizens across all of Ireland.

“I will be raising this loss of entitlements when the Seanad resumes next week, and I will be requesting that Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris address this issue urgently.

“His Fine Gael party leader and Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, is on the record as saying the people in the North would have their ‘birthright as Irish citizens, and therefore as EU citizens, will be protected’. 

“He also said that ‘never again’ would they ‘be left behind by an Irish government’. 

“Well the young Irish citizens in the North excluded from this programme will be keen to know what steps his ministers will be taking to resolve this issue.”

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