Monday 24 April 2017

1,000 hospitality staff face huge Brexit hit

The common travel area has allowed people to pass freely between Ireland and Britain since 1922 Photo: Getty
The common travel area has allowed people to pass freely between Ireland and Britain since 1922 Photo: Getty

About 1,000 hospitality workers who cross the Irish Border for work every day could be affected by Brexit, an industry body has warned.

Employees in Newry who live in the Republic could be particularly strongly hit by a hard Brexit, but five counties in Northern Ireland touch the frontier, the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation said.

Chief executive Janice Gault said uncertainty around the future is the biggest factor facing the industry. "We are actually on the frontier of a customs border. Do people become a commodity as such? Do you have to look at them and see them as a commodity?"

The common travel area has allowed people to pass freely between Ireland and Britain since 1922.

Ms Gault said reimposing controls would send out a retrograde message.

She suggested Border checks could be carried out at Dún Laoghaire or Stranraer ports, drawing a parallel with a treaty allowing freedom of movement between some European countries.

That would allow freedom of movement throughout Ireland.

"It would be like Schengen in reverse, we would be a region of our own," Ms Gault said.

Irish Independent

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