A scheme that allows people from some countries to travel to Ireland from Britain without needing an Irish visa is to be changed to exclude citizens of Russia and Belarus.
The Short-Stay Visa Waiver Programme allows people from certain countries who have entered Britain on foot of certain short-stay visas to travel to Ireland without the requirement to obtain an Irish visa.
The programme was set up under article 3 of the Immigration Act 2004 (Visas) Order 2014 (SI No. 473/2014), as amended.
A statement from the Department of Justice said that Minister for Justice Helen McEntee (pictured) would amend the order to remove the Russian Federation and Belarus from the list of countries whose nationals could use the scheme.
The minister said that the decision was taken “in light of the continued Russian aggression against Ukraine”.
She also announced that the Irish authorities would not recognise Russian passports issued in occupied foreign regions for the purpose of issuing visas and crossing external borders.
The EU and Ireland say that Russia has been handing out of ordinary Russian passports to residents of non-government-controlled areas in Ukraine and Georgia.
“The Government is clear that this is a grave infringement of international law, and the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of both countries,” the minister said, adding that the Government’s action was in line with the approach being taken by the Schengen member states.
The department says that this measure will not affect the asylum rights of any individual, or the right of any Ukrainian national who is entitled to temporary protection.