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Cross-Border Workers Coalition Stakeholder Update

In the opening months of 2021, the Cross Border Workers Coalition has made progress in raising awareness of the restrictive income tax rules facing cross-border workers who live in the Republic of Ireland and work in Northern Ireland.

Irish Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe TD, has agreed to meet with the Coalition, and we are working with the Minister’s office to find a suitable date. Alongside recent national media coverage, this meeting presents a potential turning point as we step up our campaign to ensure that cross-border workers domiciled in the Republic of Ireland, but working in Northern Ireland, (now working from home) are freed up from the burden of a potential double tax on their pay.

Please see below for a recent summary of the work of the CBWC.

Steering Group Update

Firstly, we’d like to take this opportunity to update you regarding the Coalition’s Steering Group which includes representatives from Chambers of Commerce and leading business organisations from across our region. We are very grateful for their support which provides an excellent insight into the concerns of cross border workers of whom this issue impacts.

Below is a list of the Coalitions Steering Group Membership:

  1. Conor Dowds, Allstate
  2. Aidan O’Kane, Allstate
  3. Paul Quinn, Allstate
  4. Peter Barber, Allstate
  5. Paul Clancy, Derry Chamber
  6. Emma Mullen-Marmion, Newry Chamber
  7. Pamela Deery, Airporter
  8. Eamon Lafferty, Seagate

Meeting with Irish Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe TD

Upon sending a meeting request to Irish Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe TD, the Minister’s Diary Manager has confirmed this meeting will take place. Following engagement with elected representatives from across the island of Ireland, we received significant cross-party support from those in Stormont, the Oireachtas, and in Westminster. We look forward to raising our issue with the Minister and his advisors, and we are hopeful to achieve clarity surrounding the possible next steps.

Since the last update, we have met with the likes of:

  1. Pearse Doherty TD
  2. Colum Eastwood MP
  3. Claire Hanna MP
  4. Senator Niall O’Donnaghile
  5. Senator Emer Currie
  6. Justin McNulty MLA
  7. CBI and IBEC

Wider Engagement

Since the start of this year, we have met with political representatives, government agencies and business organisations from across the island of Ireland. Following the meeting with Minister Donohoe, we will engage with stakeholders and elected representatives again to increase the forward momentum of our campaign. We will continue this broad engagement throughout this year and would encourage your support to help us amplify that message particularly through social media.

National Media Coverage

On 15th March 2021, our campaign received national media coverage with the publication of a BBC News NI piece, which can be accessed using the LINK. This piece featured an interview with Coalition Co-Chair, Paul Quinn who spoke of the personal impact of the issue and reinforced the need for a permanent, pragmatic solution for cross border workers.

Following this, on the same morning, Paul spoke on BBC Radio Ulster Good Morning Ulster programme. In his interview with presenter Sarah Brett, Paul outlined the issue in a clear, concise fashion and you can listen to it using the LINK, with the interview beginning at 2:21:10.

Finally, on 30th March 2021, the Coalition issued a reactive statement to the Republic of Ireland Government’s ‘Our Rural Future’ plan which seeks to revitalise rural Ireland through remote working provisions. Coalition Co-Chair, Aidan O’Kane raised the point that if we are to truly revitalise rural areas such as Donegal, these restrictive personal tax rules for cross border workers must change. This statement was published in a BBC Europe article, which can be accessed using the LINK.

Other Media Coverage

In February 2021, the Coalition reacted to the announcement of the ‘Connect2’ project from NI Finance Minister, Conor Murphy MLA, which will see the creation of 10 remote working hubs across our region for the Northern Ireland Civil Service by the end of 2023. The Coalition made the point that as the public and private sector look towards implementing long-term remote working strategies, the unfair tax liabilities facing cross border workers must be addressed to ensure they are not left behind.

CBWC Statement:

“The creation of these regional hubs will give civil service staff more flexible working arrangements and illustrates a growing trend towards remote work accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. For those living outside Belfast, the opportunity of ‘blended’ working arrangements, where you can work from home one day and go to a co-working space on another, will be very attractive.

“However, due to restrictive personal tax liability rules in the Republic of Ireland, cross-border workers who live in the Republic and work in NI will be left behind and unable to gain the significant benefits of ‘blended’ working arrangements. If a Donegal-based civil servant, for example, attends a regional hub in Derry four days a week, but works from home on a Friday, under current RoI legislation he/she could be taxed twice on their income.

“For these regional hubs to fully accommodate the ‘new normal’ of post-pandemic working practices, these restrictive personal tax laws in the Republic must change. We recently sent a letter requesting to meet with Irish Finance Minister Donohoe to examine current remote working tax legislation in the Republic. We now ask Finance Minister Murphy to work with his southern counterpart to ensure that cross-border workers are not left behind in this welcome project.

The Coalition also received coverage on online news platforms such as Derry Now, Newry.ie and Donegal Live following the meeting request sent to Irish Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe TD.