17/06/2005

Work of 'Borderwise' welcomed by Minister

A practical expression of 'hands across the border' was marked when Ireland's Minister for Social and Family Affairs Seamus Brennan attended a recent event celebrating the development of the cross-border 'Borderwise' advice and information project.

Speaking at the event in Dundalk the Minister praised the work of Borderwise as "a clear example of people and organisations both North and South working together to enhance the lives of all the people in the region."

Mr Brennan said: "The North-South Ministerial Council set up under the Good Friday Agreement is particularly interested in removing obstacles to mobility between the two jurisdictions. Among such obstacles can be the lack of information for people who are moving across the Border. Borderwise is playing a valuable role in helping to fill part of that information void�.

The project was developed in partnership between Comhairle and Citizens Advice in Northern Ireland. It provides support to Southern Citizens Information Centres (CIC) and their Northern equivalent Citizen Advice Bureaux (CAB) in border counties like Louth, Monaghan, Donegal, Fermanagh and Newry and Mourne.

The Chief Executive of Citizens Advice NI, Derek Alcorn, said: �The Borderwise Project provides tangible evidence of how investment in cross border relationships and the development of new methods of service delivery can enhance the strategic delivery of advice and information services on a North/South basis.�

Ms Leonie Lunny, the Chief Executive of Comhairle said she believed the Borderwise Project and the partnership between Comhairle and Citizens Advice in Northern Ireland "presents further opportunities to optimise cross-border co-operation across a range of areas on both sides of the border."

One of the aims of the project is to address issues that may arise, for example, for people who live on one side of the border but work on the other.

Often referred to as �Frontier Workers� there are frequently queries that arise relating to tax liability, health service entitlements and queries regarding the jurisdiction from which family payments can be claimed.

Queries are also common from people who are planning to move, or have recently moved across the border- many relate to possible loss of or retention of existing benefits and services.

Visit www.borderwise.org for further information.

(SP)

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