Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Border Force jobs reported to watchdog for 'chilling' ban on Irish passport holders

By Gareth Cross

SDLP South Belfast MLA Claire Hanna has said she has reported 21 new Border Force jobs planned for Belfast to the Equality Commission.

The SDLP Brexit spokesperson said the British Government should spell out clearly what form of border they anticipate these employees to be guarding.

Earlier this week it was revealed that only British passport holders could apply for the new Border Force positions.

The application pack for the job states that "these are reserved posts and are only open to UK nationals."

Under the Good Friday Agreement, anyone born in Northern Ireland has the right to Irish, British and dual citizenship.

People born in Northern Ireland are also eligible to apply for an Irish passport, however Irish passport holders living in Northern Ireland will not be able to apply for the positions.

This is "due to the sensitive nature of the work, require special allegiance to the Crown".

Ms Hanna said the apparent bar on Irish passport holders is both "exclusionary and chilling”.

“Having failed to put forward any serious ideas for how to address Brexit, it appears that the British Government are now finally doing some planning, but for the one thing they promised to avoid. Instead of putting out job advertisements, the British Government should take some serious time to spell out clearly what form of Border they anticipate these employees to be guarding," the South Belfast MLA said.

“The SDLP will not stand for any borders or barriers on this island. We will continue to fight to protect the rights and freedoms of people here.

“The apparent bar on Irish passport holders from applying for these jobs is however exclusionary and chilling, and likely to be in breach of fair employment guidance.

She said other jobs could be reserved in a similar fashion in future.

"All of us must question what other jobs or services are to be reserved for, as the Home Office has put it, those with “special allegiance to the Crown?”," Ms Hanna said.

"For the SDLP this is completely unacceptable. That’s why I have referred the actions of the British Government in relation to these jobs to the Equality Commission for investigation. Everyone should know that the hard won rights for all citizens of this island should not be compromised."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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