Irish travellers have ‘no choice’ but to go to Spain if they want to visit the UK
Travellers who plan to visit Ireland this autumn will have to make their own choice if they don’t want to travel by air to Britain, with a Government official warning that the country is “not a safe haven” for those looking to visit.
The Irish government says it will suspend the travel of all foreign tourists to Ireland and the UK this autumn if the UK votes to leave the EU, and that all foreign visitors would have to apply for Irish visas before travelling to Britain.
But in a major change to EU law, Irish authorities are now considering restricting foreign travel to Ireland in order to prevent the influx of new EU migrants.
The move is seen as a response to Brexit, but it is also a direct challenge to the Irish Government, which wants to see thousands of people from the UK and elsewhere in Europe come to Ireland before the referendum next year.
Irish Minister of State at Home James Reilly said the Government was “taking the appropriate steps” to “protect our national interests and our border” if the Brexit vote were to go ahead.
“The Government’s position is that Ireland will not be a safe destination for people who are intent on coming to the UK,” he said.
“If they wish to travel to the Republic of Ireland, then they will have a legal and financial basis to do so.”
Mr Reilly said that if the Government decides to make changes to the rules for foreign travel, it would be in the interests of the Irish people to do it in an “appropriate and orderly manner”.
“If the UK’s exit from the EU is deemed to be unavoidable, then the Government will be taking the appropriate measures to ensure that the Government is prepared to provide adequate protection to the Government of Ireland if that exit is deemed unavoidable,” he added.’
No choice’For those who want to go, Irish travellers will need to find another way to get to the island than air.
But the move is likely to cause anger from some Irish politicians who say it will allow hundreds of thousands of EU nationals to come to the country illegally, even if they are here legally.
“This is a political stunt to appease the European Union,” the Independent TD Patrick Cooney said.
“In reality, it will not address the real issues that Irish people face as they seek to travel and settle in the Republic.”
“This proposal to restrict entry into Ireland for foreign visitors is nothing less than a blatant act of racism.
The Government is not only ignoring the wishes of Irish people, they are making an illegal entry into our country and denying our right to live here.”
As a matter of fact, the Irish government should immediately apologise to Irish citizens for their ill-advised, ill-thought-out and unnecessary decision to restrict Irish entry to the United Kingdom.
“I would encourage the Government to reconsider its decision and to allow Irish citizens to enter the United States without visas.”