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The Cross Border Workers Coalition have welcomed the publishing by the Irish Government of  their 'Our Rural Future' plan, the most ambitious and transformational policy for rural development in decades. The document sets out a blueprint for the development of rural Ireland over the next five years.

Aidan O'Kane, Cross Border Workers Coalition

The policy reflects the unprecedented change in living and working patterns during COVID-19 and the significant opportunities this presents for rural communities – from remote working and revitalising our town centres to job creation, developing a green economy and enhancing our outdoor amenities.

The five year strategy was launched in Croke Park yesterday by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, and Minister for Transport and the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan. 

Reacting to the announcement Aidan O’Kane, Co-Chair of the Cross Border Workers Coalition, has said "The Cross Border Workers Coalition (CBWC) welcomes the announcement of the ‘Our Rural Future’ plan, the Irish Government’s five-year strategy to revitalize rural Ireland through remote working provisions. The establishment of over 400 remote working hubs nationwide, alongside a long-term strategy for “blended” working arrangements for the public sector, illustrates the decisive shift towards home-working and the need to give employees fluidity in where they choose to work.” 

 “This announcement coincides with the recent ‘Connect2’ project from NI Finance Minister Conor Murphy MLA, with Ministers north and south displaying their commitment to the long-term accommodation of remote working. However, by ignoring the restrictive personal tax rules faced by cross border workers, both projects leave border communities behind and fail to meaningfully address the regional disparity in the all-island economy. This plan, therefore, does nothing to allay the concerns of isolated, rural communities such as those in Donegal.”

“Under current legislation, cross border workers who live in the Republic of Ireland and work for an NI-based company can face a ‘double tax’ on their income if they work remotely. We agree with the Minister for Rural Development, Heather Humphreys TD, that remote working is “all about giving people choices”, and, post-pandemic, employees should be able to live in towns across the island regardless of where their job is based. Left unchanged, these income tax rules could continue to significantly restrict the livelihoods of thousands of cross border workers.”

“Upon this announcement, we re-affirm our call for a permanent change to these restrictive cross border tax rules to ensure that the ‘necklace’ region of the Republic of Ireland is an attractive place to live, work and invest.”

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