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
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.