“no question of introducing fixed immigration controls on either side of the land border..”

In an Irish Times front page article [no subs] Frank Millar reports Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s response to the DUP leader Ian Paisley’s query on border controls and includes a statement from the DUP leader – who said he was pleased Mr Brown had “so robustly defended the integrity of the United Kingdom’s border”. But it’s worth pointing out that the Prime Minister’s response also indicates that proof of identity will be required – if that “data”, on domestic and sea journeys, is to be available on request.

Referring to Section 14 of the Police and Justice Act 2006, which introduces a new power for the police to request passenger, crew and service “data” on domestic and sea journeys, Mr Brown confirms this power will be brought into force sometime this year, adding: “So, although passengers may be asked to prove their identity when travelling between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom [as they do already on many flights], there is no question of instituting passport control for people travelling within the United Kingdom.”

In his letter, Mr Brown confirms “there is no question of introducing fixed immigration controls on either side of the land border” between the North and the Republic. Successful joint operations between the British Border and Immigration Agency, UK police and the Garda National Immigration Bureau had successfully prevented “non-common travel area (CTA) nationals attempting to cross the boundary illegally in both directions”, Mr Brown told Dr Paisley.

That second paragraph would appear to be a reference to the kind of incident noted by Mick over the Christmas period.

Also in Frank Millar’s report

Dr Paisley urged the Irish Government “to co-operate fully with the UK in securing our borders against those who would exploit them for criminal or terrorist ends”. He added: “It is only right and proper that British citizens in Northern Ireland are treated on a par with their fellow-countrymen in the rest of the UK.”

Time for that considered debate to take place in public?

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  • The Dubliner

    I assume that “fixed immigration controls” are replaced by a fudge of ‘mobile immigration controls’ – effectively a new policy by the Irish government to surrender control of its border to another state without informing its citizens of the infringement of sovereignty. A few questions need to be asked in the Dail, methinks. If Bertie hasn’t “robustly defended the integrity” of the Irish border then it is time for him to go.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    In practice travelling from Non Iron to Britian will require ID, but travelling from Non Iron to the ROI will not. For many Non Ironers this may well mean production of a passport as per air travel.

    The reality post GFA/STA is that Non Iron government is constitutionally obliged to cooperate with ROI on a wide range of matters. If this has been agreed to extend this cooperation into the area of immigation then
    (subject to examination of the details as they emerge )good on Berty – he is supposed to be a Republican after all.

  • Gareth

    The last time I travelled on the ferry, Scottish police were asking many people for ID, which I thought was a very good thing. All this unionist clamour about equal treatment is ok, but I put security over symbolism.

  • “Fixed immingration controls” seems to be the get out clause here

  • Reader

    iwsmcnwdi: For many Non Ironers this may well mean production of a passport as per air travel.
    And yet I expect to sail from Bangor to Portpatrick and back twice this year, and from Bangor to Douglas and back once, without showing any ID at all. I am not sure that would work between England and France.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Reader,

    are you referring to Bangor in the ( still, sort of ) occupied territories or Bangor in the Engleze’s first colony (i.e. Wales) ?

  • mnob

    If you travel by aircoach from Belfast to Dublin you will generally be stopped at Dundalk and asked for ID.

    This act seems to have slipped through without a whimper but the precedent of giving the police power to ask for ID on an internal journey is a bad one to set. I dont think many in GB would be happy with the prospect of producing ID on the Ise of Wight Ferry.

  • kensei

    “If you travel by aircoach from Belfast to Dublin you will generally be stopped at Dundalk and asked for ID. ”

    Now mnob, that is incorrect. You will not be asked for ID. The Eastern European looking gentleman three seats back, and the African looking gentleman 4 seats forward will also for ID.

  • kensei

    *will be asked

  • ozy

    Aye mostly kensei’s right, but to be fair to the Guard last time they stopped the bus I was on he did check everyone’s ID on the bus (which I *much* prefer to the racial profiling)

    I still dont see the need for any ID checks within the Common Travel Area, whether north/south or east/west – surely passport controls at airports and seaports for people coming in from outside the CTA is more than enough?

  • DK

    I travel regularly (at least monthly) by train from Belfast to Dublin and have never once been asked for ID in the past 6 or so years. I have never heard of it on the busses either – unless the aircoarch is considered an extenstion of the airport and that is why it is stopped?

  • Reader

    iwsmcnwdi: are you referring to Bangor in the ( still, sort of ) occupied territories or
    Yep, this one. I occupy it.

  • Harry Flashman

    *You will not be asked for ID. The Eastern European looking gentleman three seats back…[will be asked] for ID.*

    In what way does an eastern European person look different from an Irish person? Well except for the women of course who are better looking and better dressed and smile occasionally.

  • BfB

    #10

    So, regardless of how you get into the CTA, once you’re in, you’re safe……that won’t work (for the honest citizen, anyway)…trust me. A sure sign will be the coach schedules posted in all the East African dialects. And only your aunties and grannies being searched.