Fine Gael Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes has today Sunday urged the Government to recognise Schengen short stay visas as a means of boosting our tourism numbers. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Schengen Agreement which was established to allow people move freely between participation countries.
“14 million applications for Schengen short stay visas are issued each year. Ireland is not part of the Schengen Agreement. Those who successfully obtain a Schengen visa are therefore required to obtain a separate visa if they wish to travel to Ireland.”
“I believe we could attract up to 200,000 more visitors per year if we were to recognise Schengen short stay visas. This would represent 2% of the total short stay Schengen visas issued annually.”
“When non-European citizens obtain a Schengen visa they are highly unlikely to go through the extra hassle and costs of obtaining another visa to visit Ireland. If this was an automatic process tourists would be much more inclined to make the trip to Ireland as part of their European visit.”
“I’m not suggesting we abolish our own border controls or sign up to the Schengen agreement but that we simply recognise the short stay Schengen visa. Because Irish citizens have freedom of movement in the EU, I believe that those who have an EU visa should be afforded the same freedom of movement regardless of whether it is in Schengen” concluded Mr Hayes.