Are foreigners a financial strain on the NHS in Northern Ireland?

CLAIM: “The health service in Northern Ireland will especially benefit from the requirement for foreigners – including those from the Republic of Ireland – to pay for hospital treatment.” – Sammy Wilson, Belfast Telegraph, 19 May 2016

CONCLUSION: The claim, while technically accurate, is misleading. Under a variety of different circumstances, foreigners do pay for access to health care already. The proposed legislation would seek ways to extend the scope for foreigners to contribute financially for NHS services, and to increase the incentives for debt recovery. The NHS would save significantly by simply collecting on what it is owed under current exchange schemes with foreign governments. Continue reading Are foreigners a financial strain on the NHS in Northern Ireland?

Would Brexit lead to a customs frontier?

CLAIM: A customs frontier between Ireland and Northern Ireland land border is unavoidable in the event of a United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Union.

CONCLUSION: There is no non-EU member state that currently has a customs-free border with the EU, even if they are members of the Schengen Area and maintain the free movement of people. There is no existing model that would permit the continued lack of a customs frontier in Northern Ireland if the UK left the EU. Continue reading Would Brexit lead to a customs frontier?

Would Brexit lead to Northern Ireland land border checks?

CLAIM: Lord Mandelson speaking about the border with Ireland in case of Brexit: “It would mean a return to customs posts, border checks; I don’t know exactly what the arrangements would be …”

CONCLUSION: Travel between the UK and Ireland is currently unaffected by EU membership, as they have both opted out of joining the Schengen Area and maintained their own Common Travel Area since long before the EU came into existence. If the UK left Europe, then the land border with Northern Ireland could be maintained by the introduction of internal border enforcement and/or greater cooperation between British and Irish governments in a shared policy toward their external borders. Continue reading Would Brexit lead to Northern Ireland land border checks?

Are 1 in 8 jobs supported by EU membership?

CLAIM: 1 in 8 jobs in Northern Ireland is supported by European Union (EU) membership.

CONCLUSION: While 1 in 8 jobs in Northern Ireland is not necessarily dependent on EU membership, a growing portion of the labour market is related to trade with the EU. This growth is particularly substantial in Northern Ireland, and it is difficult to predict if it would be sustained without the single market. Continue reading Are 1 in 8 jobs supported by EU membership?