Irish Republican News · August 27, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Partition problems highlighted

Calls for an all-island taxation and social welfare system in Ireland are to be made through local authorities on both sides of the Border.

The moves from Sinn Fein members are in response to problems in dealing with bureaucracy and accessing benefits in Border regions, according to the party.

Michelle Gildernew, Sinn Fein MP for Fermanagh-South Tyrone, said she has already raised the issue at the North-South Ministerial Council.

Ms Gildernew said inequalities were being experienced in the unfair imposition of vehicle registration tax which is paid by those who move to the South and need to re-register their vehicles.

She also said people in the South were facing difficulties trying to claim tax credits when they live in the South but work in the North.

In relation to social welfare payments, Ms Gildernew said the imposition of a “habitual residence” condition by the Department of Social Protection was causing unnecessary problems.

The MP said that partition was not “some vague constitutional issue”.

“It is having a very real and negative impact on people living in Fermanagh, Donegal, Monaghan and right along the Border corridor,” she said.


Meanwhile, northern shopping centres are reporting a drop of up to 35 per cent in the number of people crossing the border to shop.

At the height of cross-border fever in mid-2009, an estimated 250,000 householders were travelling across the border to buy cheaper goods.

However, a number of factors have significantly reduced these numbers, including a weakened euro, deflation in the Irish economy and drops in grocery prices and alcohol excise tax.

A number of retailers are struggling with the ‘boom-and-bust’ trading environment of the border area.

Cathal Lofton, manager of the Quays shopping centre in Newry, said about 35 to 40 per cent of customers coming to the centre were from the 26 Counties. This was down from around 60 per cent last year, he said.

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