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Republic passes healthcare in Europe bill for Northern Ireland residents

Priority: Simon Harris
Priority: Simon Harris
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

The Irish Parliament has passed a bill to allow residents of Northern Ireland to access emergency healthcare in Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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As part of the Irish Government's contingency planning, the legislation approved by the Oireachtas is intended to provide similar benefits to the European Health Insurance Card.

The current cards let United Kingdom residents get medical care for free, or at a reduced cost, in 31 countries, but may become invalid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The bill also makes provision for British citizens to access the National Childcare Scheme on the same basis as Irish citizens.

Irish Health Minister Simon Harris said providing healthcare for eligible Northern Ireland residents was "a clear priority" of the Irish Government's preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

"Our priority has always been to ensure the people of Northern Ireland can continue to have access to necessary healthcare when travelling in Europe," he said.

Mr Harris added the costs can be claimed back through a reimbursement mechanism under Irish law.

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