Donegal County Council has been urged to strengthen the Citizens' Information Service to handle the expected increase in personal enquiries stemming from the implications of Brexit on individuals across the county.
Moville-based Labour Councillor, Martin Farren said Donegal is going to be the worst hit part of the Republic, regardless of how Brexit turns out and Inishowen will be worse again, he claimed.
"Inishowen has always been seen as part of Derry’s natural hinterland. Only 2 roads lead in and out of Inishowen and one of those goes through Northern Ireland," he said.
"The government has been making sweeping statements about increasing motorway and rail links to
the ports of Rosslare, Waterford, Cork and Shannon to improve connections to Europe. Donegal has
neither motorway nor rail link.
"40 percent of City of Derry Airport’s passengers are from Donegal. Our natural ferry services run out of
Belfast and Larne. Our cancer treatment centre is in Altnagelvin.
"We depend a lot on Northern Ireland ambulances servicing accidents and incidents, in Donegal,
close to the border. If we lose this coverage what will happen to the “Golden Hour” for Donegal
injured? The HSE should be organising extra ambulances in Donegal to accommodate the loss of
Northern Ireland ambulance cover close to the border.
"The NI Fire Service crosses the border to assist the Donegal service. What arrangements are being
put in place to compensate for loss of this critical support?
"Donegal people working in Northern Ireland are currently covered by a Double -Taxation Agreement
to help them with their income tax payments. Will this agreement be changed by Brexit? These
workers are entitled to Medical Cards in the Republic. What will happen to them after Brexit?
"Those who have worked in the UK for years are entitled to a UK pension and a medical card in the
Republic but, for those who also worked in the Republic, this medical card is being refused by the
HSE, quoting an EU regulation. What will be the situation post-Brexit.
"For those without medical cards, a prescription can cost €100 in Donegal but only £20 in Derry. What
will happen after Brexit? Will Irish prescriptions be recognised in Northern Ireland?
"Many Donegal students attend Northern Irish third level education facilities. Will these facilities still
be available and at what cost?
"Day trippers / weekender tourists from Northern Ireland are a major source of tourism revenue in
"How will Brexit affect this trade? Will there be a new customs post in Greencastle for
"One million “green card” forms have been issued to motor insurance companies throughout Ireland
as the industry prepares for a no-deal Brexit. Donegal drivers will be required to have a green card to
show they have valid insurance in the UK. More checkpoints on border roads?
"The farming, fishing and transport organisations have been engaging with the relevant government
departments for months and are already organising information and advice meetings around the
“No one seems to be looking out for the future implications of Brexit on individual citizens. Queries
by individuals about the possible effect of Brexit on their daily lives are getting the run-around from
government departments”, the Moville Labour councillor said.
Cllr Farren concluded: “We will need the impartial advice that the Citizens Information Service is in place to provide but the CIS must be supported by extra staff and better information from government departments if the
existing good service is not to be swamped."
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