The Belfast Telegraph report on the House of Lords debate noted by Gonzo yesterday ends with the Conservative claim that “the [UK] Government’s plans were unclear” – those plans are here btw. But that ‘unclearness’ probably has much to do with the absence of a public conversation about what the Republic of Ireland’s government plans to do. Although.. the Minister for Justice, Brian Lenihan, has just unveiled a new fingerprint system which “will allow gardaí to electronically capture and store the fingerprints of all non-EU nationals and to take such prints at ports and airports.”…It’s also worth noting that the interesting paragraph from the House of Lords debate I pointed to in the comments zone here is attributed to Lord Trimble in Frank Millar’s Irish Times report [subs req] and not Lord West as Hansard suggests.
From the Irish Times
Lord Trimble had earlier asked Lord West if, in their discussions, the Irish Government had pointed out that British citizens comprised the largest group of foreign nationals in the Republic.
Lord Trimble said that they, together with hundreds of thousands “if not millions” of Irish passport holders living in Britain, were accustomed to travelling back and forth between the two states “without any formalities ever since the creation of a separatist Irish State”.
Anticipating the “considerable inconvenience” to them likely to result from e-borders, Lord Trimble asked: “Would it not be much better to take the existing informal common travel area and put it on a formal basis analogous to the Schengen agreement that applies elsewhere in Europe?”
He added: “This would solve the problems that arise in practice and relieve the difficulties experienced by the Home Office, which seems to be intellectually challenged by the idea of a land frontier.”