“working in partnership with the Irish Government..”

Better hurry up with that public conversation on border controls within the archipelago.. because the lengthy Cabinet Office report on the border review – as revealed today by Prime Minister Gordon Brown – indicates that a private conversation between the UK and Irish governments is taking place. From the report [page 13 – pdf file]

Ensuring breadth of coverage across a range of locations and risks will be crucial. The unique nature of the Common Travel Area (CTA) requires particular attention to manage the special circumstances associated with free movement within this area. This is currently being addressed by BIA [Border and Immigration Agency] through the development of a comprehensive strategy for the CTA, working in partnership with the Irish Government. This work should be built into the overarching strategy of the new organisation. [added emphasis]

Updated below the foldAlso from the report – Annex F: Legal Provisions

Territorial extent

28. The territorial extent of border control differs depending on the agency involved. For immigration, the UK shares a Common Travel Area (CTA) with the Republic of Ireland and the Crown Dependencies. There is no immigration control in the CTA, although identity and security checks are allowed. The Crown Dependencies are not bound by EU law on free movement of persons although their domestic law tends to reflect UK national law in respect of EU nationals and their family members. For customs, the UK is subject to the Community Customs Area, which requires it to follow EU law when setting out customs controls. It also means that controls on goods moving from one Member State to another, carried only by virtue of the fact that the goods have crossed the frontier, are not permissible. Member States may still, however, exercise controls, but they must be justified, necessary and proportionate.

29. The Isle of Man mirrors UK VAT and excise legislation. The Channel Islands are part of the Community Customs Area. Jersey and Guernsey have their own Customs Acts, but these tend to follow the provisions of CEMA.

30. Immigration and customs are reserved matters in all devolved administrations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). Policing is a devolved matter in Scotland. [added emphasis]

Update It’s worthwhile pointing out that one of the locations the UK government will be keen to safeguard under these new border controls, and one of the reasons why the Irish government’s policies will be affected by those proposals – in light of the maintenance of the CTA – is that new MI5 regional Headquarters in Northern Ireland.

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  • George

    Does this mean that Stormont could decide that Northern Ireland could join Schengen separately to the rest of the UK?

  • Pete Baker

    No, George.

    “Immigration and customs are reserved matters in all devolved administrations..”

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Possibly Non Ironers will have to produce identity cards or driving licences with photos rather than Passports when entering the mainland.

  • Pete Baker

    Probably, IWSMWDI, but the UK government will gain access to that info through the private organisations [airlines etc] concerned.

    However, the issue of the CTA – and the security of UK assets in Northern Ireland – remains.

    And that can only be resolved by a duplication of policy by the Irish government.

  • George

    Cheers Pete,
    For some reason I had one of those monogovernmental moments where I read “reserved matters” meaning reserved to the Stormont Assembly rather than somewhere else.

    So it seems the Irish government will have to follow suit with the UK on this issue.

    The alternatives are border controls for unionists going to the UK or border controls for nationalists going to the Republic. Neither is feasible.

  • Pete Baker

    That might have something to do with the wording used in the report, George.

    As in, rather than describing it as a reserved matter “in all devolved administrations”, it could have been described as not a devolved matter.

    But, as you say, neither alternatives are feasible.

  • Elvis Parker

    The Republic will essentially have to cede more of its sovereignty over border controls to the UK – however before nationalists get over excited – this is not new given the CTA it is just an further extension of UK control.
    The Republic of course retains the right to control its borders in an emergency but accepts that, in light of the value of the CTA over the years, it is best to let the UK decide on this.
    For the same reason the Republic chose only to restrict citizens from new EU countries in the limited way that the UK did i.e. once the UK decided to have fairly free movement the Republic had to follow suit

  • manichaeism

    I think the Republic also allowed free movement from
    Eastern Europe because the economy needed workers!

  • The Dubliner

    When the CTA de facto vanishes in 2009, the Irish government should manage its own border security as a sovereign state rather join than the Schengen system or allow further creeping recolonisation to occur under a “British Isles” approach to Ireland’s sovereign borders, ceding that control to another sovereign state. It’s too bad if that inconveniences the citizens of NI but that is a consequence of what they signed up for when they signed the GFA and when the citizens of the south amended Articles 2 & 3 of the Irish constitution. Decisions concerning Irish sovereignty must be made by the Irish government solely in the interests of the citizens the Republic of Ireland, and not on the basis of what is best for the citizens of another state.

  • páid

    Aye Dubliner,

    and have you checked the home addresses of the “citizens of the Republic of Ireland”?

  • True Gael

    I agree Dubliner but fear it will not happen. The British remain determined to unify the island – under British control. Notice how the BBC decided a few years ago – without consulting Dublin that they would broadcast unencrypted over these isles – while encypting their services on the European mainland. This has enabled them to eat further and further into TV audiences in Ireland and also – at a stroke undermined the viability of any future Irish digital television.
    Since then British TV programmes from Big Brother to the X factor have always had a token Irishman.
    At the same time the conialisation of Irish High Streets has continued.
    The only thing I would disagree with you about Dubliner is the use of the word ‘creeping’ within a decade they will control our borders, media, shops and banks.
    This sycophantic approach on border secuirty simply reveals the truth – the Irish government in not sovereign

  • It’s worthwhile pointing out that one of the locations the UK government will be keen to safeguard under these new border controls, and one of the reasons why the Irish government’s policies will be affected by those proposals – in light of the maintenance of the CTA – is that new MI5 regional Headquarters in Northern Ireland.

    Am I alone in seeing a non-sequitur here? The only reason given for the Irish Government to comply is to ensure maintenance of the CTA, but the CTA will be meaningless once e-borders are in place, because there will in practice be controls on travel between Britain and both parts of Ireland whatever happens.

    The only place there will be free movement will be on the border, and that cannot in practice be withdrawn.

  • The Dubliner

    páid, the problem with pretending that an all-Ireland is the same thing as a united Ireland is that you must also pretend that there aren’t two separate and sovereign states, both of which have competing national interests. It would be nice if we could pretend the border doesn’t exist and that, for example, the IDA could operate on an all-Ireland basis and send jobs to the north. But it can’t do that because an all-Ireland is not the same thing as a united Ireland and, ergo, it would be tantamount to treachery for the IDA to seek to put the interests of another state before the interests of the Republic, diverting investment into the realm of Her Majesty’s exchequer. It is also tantamount to treachery for the Irish government to pretend that the border doesn’t exist and to put the interests of a foreign state or its citizens before its own.

    That isn’t the only example of recolonisation that is coming from the north. We have this “let’s pretend we’re all united when we’re not” mentality being used to further compromise Irish sovereignty by the dismal expedient of granting so-called ‘speaking rights’ for Her Majesty’s MPs from the north in the Dail, thereby setting the precedent that it is proper for foreign members of a foreign parliament to interfere directly in Irish sovereign affairs.

    As True Gael points out, it’s all part of a bigger plan that is aimed at undermining Irish sovereignty and nationalism.

  • Pete Baker

    Tom

    “Am I alone in seeing a non-sequitur here?”

    Look at the issue in the terms it’s presented by the UK government – in particular, national security.

    They couldn’t let a location like a regional Headquarters of MI5 remain potentially vulnerable, in their terms, while adopting different preventative measures elsewhere within the UK.

  • George

    Pete,
    I reckon that all the money spent on that regional MI5 building was so that it could take a “hit” and still function.

    A single building is hardly reason enough for specific measures. And it’s a sad day when this building is more important than the 1.7 million residents.

    Also, as for preventative measures, the UK would still be reliant on the Irish security services to ensure they keep their borders tight for total MI5 regional building security so that argument doesn’t really hold water.

    The only way I can see this system developing is where British security will function in a two-tier way, with Britain being tier one and Ireland, north and south, being tier two.

    Unless of course the British security services share all their intel with their Irish counterparts and both sides work as a single unit, which isn’t going to happen.

  • Yes, but that is a British Government problem. Why does the Irish Government have to address it? A carrot? A stick? A pavlovian reaction?

  • Sorry,

    Above was in response to Pete’s post.

    On George’s point about data-sharing, it’s worth recalling that Ian Paisley secured a specific assurance that data from I.D. cards would not be shared with the Republic for the purpose of maintaining the common travel area.

  • DK

    True Gael: “I agree Dubliner but fear it will not happen. The British remain determined to unify the island – under British control. Notice how the BBC decided a few years ago – without consulting Dublin that they would broadcast unencrypted over these isles – while encypting their services on the European mainland. This has enabled them to eat further and further into TV audiences in Ireland and also – at a stroke undermined the viability of any future Irish digital television.
    Since then British TV programmes from Big Brother to the X factor have always had a token Irishman.
    At the same time the conialisation of Irish High Streets has continued.
    The only thing I would disagree with you about Dubliner is the use of the word ‘creeping’ within a decade they will control our borders, media, shops and banks.
    This sycophantic approach on border secuirty simply reveals the truth – the Irish government in not sovereign ”

    Utter small englander, sorry – irelander – twaddle. Before digital even emerged there were relay stations set up by locals throughout Ireland to get the british TV and the vast bulk of digital TV is commercial so hardly a BBC plot. The token irish on TV are not part of a sinister attempt to indoctrinate the irish but rather people taking job opportunities and the recent trend to prefering presenters with exciting regional accents. As for the high street, most of the shops are multinational and the banks even more so (only one of the big banks in Ireland is British – Ulster Bank, although it is actually Scottish; and the British Post office recently selected the very Irish Bank of Ireland to sell loans throughout the UK – so it works both ways).

    I think that you have a common friend in the daily mail readers throughout England who are horrified at the loss of small stores to big american or, even worse, european chains and shudder at the thought of all these non-English people being allowed on the BBC. Perhaps you could set up a fan club.

    True Gael… wake up and smell the coffee… the age of ethnic purity and keeping foreigners out is over, as is state control over all the shops/banks/etc. There is no secret British plot to take over Ireland any more than the presence of american culture is part of a secret plan to take over the UK.

  • Pete Baker

    George

    I highlighted it as one reason, not the reason – and I never suggested it was more of a reason than the safety of 1.7 million people.

    Tom

    Sure it’s a UK government problem.

    But maintaining the CTA, in regards to crossing from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland, makes it a Republic of Ireland government’s problem too.

  • Pete,

    It seems to be universally accepted that it’s not practical to control free movement across the border, and there’s been no suggestion that the British Government is willing to try.

    The only problem for the Irish Government is the lack of immigration controls for third country nationals, and that is as at much of a a problem for the British Government.

    So where is the leverage for Britain to impose its preferred solution to the problem?

  • Pete Baker

    Tom

    That’s a question for the Irish government to answer.

  • willowfield

    The Dubliner

    When the CTA de facto vanishes in 2009, the Irish government should manage its own border security as a sovereign state rather join than the Schengen system or allow further creeping recolonisation to occur under a “British Isles” approach to Ireland’s sovereign borders, ceding that control to another sovereign state.

    Surely the UK is also ceding control to another sovereign state?

    It’s too bad if that inconveniences the citizens of NI but that is a consequence of what they signed up for when they signed the GFA and when the citizens of the south amended Articles 2 & 3 of the Irish constitution.

    It’ll inconvenience citizens of ROI, too, surely, when they travel to the UK – either to NI or GB?

    Decisions concerning Irish sovereignty must be made by the Irish government solely in the interests of the citizens the Republic of Ireland, and not on the basis of what is best for the citizens of another state.

    Why is it not in the interests of ROI citizens to have a common policy with the UK? Would ROI citizens prefer border and immigration controls with NI and at GB airports and ports? Personally, I doubt it.

    That isn’t the only example of recolonisation that is coming from the north. We have this “let’s pretend we’re all united when we’re not” mentality being used to further compromise Irish sovereignty by the dismal expedient of granting so-called ‘speaking rights’ for Her Majesty’s MPs from the north in the Dail, thereby setting the precedent that it is proper for foreign members of a foreign parliament to interfere directly in Irish sovereign affairs.

    At the risk of bringing into the discussion a relatively trivial issue, how do you view the current issue in respect of the ROI football team, which also can be characterised as “let’s pretend we’re all united when we’re not”?