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23rd Mar 2022

Former Brexit minister hits back at Simon Coveney over Irish border comments

Hugh Carr

simon coveney david frost brexit

David Frost accused Coveney of forgetting “the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is an international border between two different countries”.

A former Brexit minister has hit back at Simon Coveney‘s criticism of the UK Government’s plans for new rules regarding the Border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

On Tuesday (22 March), MPs at Westminster voted to restore the need for a US-style visa waiver for non-Irish EU citizens entering the UK.

A majority of MPs moved to support the UK Government’s challenge to an amendment introduced in the House of Lords that would have excluded Northern Ireland from the legislation.

The change is part of proposed British immigration laws and would see non-Irish EU citizens needing to apply for pre-travel clearance, titled Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), before arriving into the UK, including from the Northern Irish Border.

“This decision is regrettable and contrary to the approach that UK and Irish Governments have supported for many years to protect free movement on the island of Ireland for everyone,” Coveney wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

“Our concern on this has been communicated clearly but has been ignored.”

In response, Lord David Frost, a former Brexit-focused minister, hit back at Coveney’s comments.

“The border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is an international border between two different countries,” Lord Frost said.

“One could be forgiven for thinking occasionally from Irish Government public statements that sometimes they forget that.

“Obviously we must have rules for third country nationals entering the UK via that border just as at all others.

“And, for the avoidance of doubt, though after all these years it shouldn’t need saying, that does not of course mean those rules have to be enforced at the border,” Frost concluded.

Frost held numerous positions in the UK Government during Brexit, includings Chief Negotiator for Exiting the European Union in 2019.

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