Last time I was stopped at the border would have been by a single Garda around 1990, probably after a major attack somewhere in Northern Ireland. He was stopping most cars just before the Carrickdale hotel creating a tailback that went right back across the actual boarder. When we eventually got up to him he engaged my Derby born English colleague in a long conversation about the mixed fortunes of Derby County (the Guard’s favourite team), and after a decent interval he waved us on. Yesterday, travelling on a Belfast to Dublin coach we were pulled in by a Garda with the words ‘Immigration’ emblazoned on his back and asked for passports and other forms of photo ID. It’s a development that has not been covered in the media, yet it would appear to have important implications both for Schengen debate, and the future of the Common Travel Area. Bertie Ahern seems convinced that most of the immigration travel is north to south, although official figures suggest it is about equal each way. So is Dublin preparing to draw a hard land border back in, in preference to sharing protocols and information with British? There is no sign of immigration control on east west flights between Dublin and Britain, yet at least.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty