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Republic Of Ireland Citizens (Welfare Benefit)

Volume 931: debated on Thursday 12 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in what circumstances citizens of the Irish Republic may become entitled to supplementary or unemployment benefit in Northern Ireland by reason of the ending in 1977 of the derogation from freedom of movement of labour in the European Economic Community

The termination on 31st December 1977 of the derogation in respect of Northern Ireland in regard to the free movement of workers within the European Economic Community will have no effect on the existing conditions under which citizens of the Republic of Ireland may receive unemployment benefit or supplementary benefit in Northern Ireland. The five-year residence test for supplementary benefit remains in operation.

Is the Minister aware that his reply will help to dispel the quite widespread impression in Northern Ireland that following the end of the derogation there may be a considerable number of citizens of the Republic entering Northern Ireland for the purpose of collecting supplementary benefit and unemployment pay? Is he aware that his answer will be valuable in that context?

I understand the fears represented by the right hon. Gentleman in his question. As he said, they are based only on an impression. Nothing changes as a result of the derogation