DUP South Antrim MLA and Vice-Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee Pam Cameron has accused the Irish Government of ‘grandstanding’ after it emerged that Dublin has reneged on its promise to provide European Health Insurance Cards to all residents in Northern Ireland because the UK Government has already secured equal protection as part of the Brexit trade deal.
Responding, Mrs Cameron said:
‘‘It is extremely welcome that the EU and UK have reached agreement to replace the European Health Insurance Card (EHICs) with a new scheme which will maintain the same level of protection for citizens in every part of the UK.
This will benefit people in Northern Ireland who travel on holiday or on business, including those with chronic or pre-exiting medical conditions. They will continue to be able to receive care at a reduced cost or free of charge until they return home.
It is curious why the Irish Government chose to make grand pronouncements on EHICs when it was clear this issue was being prioritised at highest level in negotiations. Ultimately the folly of their position is now readily apparent as the authorities have been forced to withdraw their offer because the UK has already acted in the interests of people in Northern Ireland.
Sadly, this situation is only the latest example in a long list of Dublin decisions to overreach into the internal affairs of Northern Ireland under the cover of Brexit and the border. Moving forward, as our countries seek to strengthen cooperation as neighbours, this culture of opportunism and grandstanding should end.’’