Reactive Media Statement

Reacting to the Irish Government’s introduction of new Covid-19 restrictions mandating that employees should work-from-home, Aidan O’Kane, Co-Chair of the Cross Border Workers Coalition, said:

“While it is regrettable that the ongoing public health situation has forced the re-imposition of work-from-home restrictions, the Irish Government must step up now and support employees impacted by this decision. Due to inaction from the Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe TD, thousands of cross-border workers are set to face a financial penalty in January by working from home. Within weeks, employees are fearful that the home-working flexibility they have been granted since the pandemic began is set to be lost with no alternative support on offer.”

“25-year-old Irish tax rules mean that cross-border workers are denied tax relief on their income if they work remotely. While suspended since March 2020, this temporary waiver will end with a January cliff-edge, with pre-pandemic rules set to be re-introduced which pose negative financial implications to employers, workers, and families across the border region.”

“The Department of Finance has said that this waiver will run out as planned, like other Covid-19 support. The question must be asked: why is the Minister seeking to deny Covid-19 related support to cross-border workers while his Government continues to battle with the pandemic? The Coalition have met with the Minister three times to express our concerns, and his disregard of our asks is disappointing.”

“The Finance Bill is currently at Committee Stage, and despite amendments being tabled addressing this issue, Minister Donohoe and his colleagues have voted them down. The opportunity is now for the Minister to act, and in the subsequent stages of the Bill, we would ask that the Minister implements reform as a matter of urgency.”

“As we approach the end of the year, the Cross Border Workers Coalition reiterates its call for the Government to act. Now is the time to end this reckless approach, and grant cross-border workers the flexibility they need to work-from-home while the pandemic continues. Now is the time for Minister Donohoe to listen to our concerns. Now is the time for action.”