Sinn Féin TD for Donegal, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD, has met with the Cross Border Workers Coalition to discuss the campaign to address the ‘double tax’ facing home-working cross-border workers in Donegal.
Meeting in Derry City, Coalition Co-Chairs Aidan O’Kane, Conor Dowds, and Paul Quinn spoke with the Donegal TD on the Republic of Ireland’s tax laws which can deny remote working to thousands of cross-border workers. The group were encouraged by the TD’s continued commitment to work on behalf of the Coalition in the Oireachtas as they push for legislative change in October’s Irish Budget.
Formed in March 2020, the Coalition is an alliance of individual employees who live in the border regions of the Republic of Ireland but work in Northern Ireland. Restrictive personal tax rules mean that, if cross-border workers work-from-home at all, they can face a ‘double tax’ on their income. The group discussed with Mr. Mac Lochlainn individual case studies of those affected by the issue who were unable to work-from-home pre-pandemic and faced significant challenges to their work-life balance.
The Coalition recently held a positive meeting with Irish Finance Minister Donohoe, where the Minister stated that his department will publish a report addressing the issue later this year. Alongside this engagement with Mr. Mac Lochlainn, the Coalition are optimistic that a long-term pragmatic solution can be found this year.
TD for Donegal, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD, said:
“The Cross Border Workers Coalition are doing fantastic work to promote the rights of cross-border workers across Donegal seeking to work remotely. In the meeting, we discussed how current tax rules mean that thousands of employees in places like Buncrana face the prospect of a ‘double tax’ simply by working from home. This poses significant issues for thousands of cross-border workers and for the continued growth of our all-island economy.”
“In Donegal, many people here don’t even see the border. By giving cross-border workers greater fluidity in where they live and work, this stands to hugely benefit businesses and employees here who have worked incredibly hard over the last 15 months. And by addressing this issue, we can keep our highly skilled graduates here in the North West.”
“Throughout Brexit, we fought hard to protect the rights of border communities across Ireland. This campaign is another example where cross-border workers could be left behind, disadvantaged to their counterparts in the North who are free to work remotely. Ahead of October’s Budget, I’m calling on Minister Donohoe to act and introduce permanent solutions to this pressing issue.”
Co-Chair of the Cross Border Workers Coalition, Aidan O’Kane, said:
“It was very encouraging to meet with Donegal TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD who has shown significant support to our campaign since our formation. We discussed with Mr. Mac Lochlainn the challenges facing border businesses who are concerned that, from next year, they may face significant challenges attracting the best talent for their roles if they are unable to offer remote working opportunities. This poses significant challenges for the businesses and employees we represent.”
“Ahead of Budget 2022 in October, we discussed the need for a long-term solution to this issue and the significant benefits it would bring to the all-island economy. Permanent reform would incentivise companies to invest in our border regions, bringing in more high-paying jobs and opportunities for highly skilled workers across the island.”
“We would like to thank Pádraig for his time engaging with us, and we look forward to further collaboration as we look to resolve this issue as soon as possible.”