Politician calls for young people in Northern Ireland to be included in DiscoverEU Youth Travel scheme

Sinn Féin Party Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile has called on European Union authorities to end the exclusion of Irish and EU citizens based in Northern Ireland from the DiscoverEU youth travel scheme.

DiscoverEU is an action of the Erasmus+ program which gives the opportunity to 35,000 young people aged 18 to discover Europe through learning experiences.

However, as Northern Ireland is no longer part of the European Union, young people in the country have not been able to take part in the scheme, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.

Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile said the decision not to include young people from Northern Ireland in the scheme is a denial of young people’s rights and another consequence of Brexit, which the North voted against.

“This is a denial of their rights and yet another injustice as a result of Brexit, which people in the North voted against. This scheme should be open to all EU citizens across the Ireland”, Donghaile said.

In addition, Donnghaile revealed that he will then raise this loss of rights and ask the Minister of Higher Education to settle the matter as soon as possible.

“I will raise this loss of rights when Seanad resumes next week, and I will ask Higher Education Minister Simon Harris to address this issue as a matter of urgency,” Donghaile added.

The EU has already opened the first application round for the DiscoverEU programme. The first round of applications opened on April 7 and closes today April 21.

The European Commission has revealed that this year’s round marks DiscoverEU’s entry into Erasmus+. Young people from Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Serbia, North Macedonia and Turkey will be able to apply for the passes for the first time.

“DiscoverEU offers you the opportunity to take part in a travel experience that will allow you to explore Europe’s diversity, discover its cultural heritage and history, and connect with people from across the continent. Moreover, DiscoverEU allows you, as a young person, to develop essential skills for your future, such as independence, confidence and openness to other cultures”, explains the official EU website.

Selected candidates will be able to travel throughout Europe, mainly by train, for a minimum period of one day and up to 30 days between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.

The program covers costs and provides assistance to those with a disability or health condition.