“to enable the carrier to meet the requirements of a police request..”

While waiting for more details on the non-public discussions between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, on maintaining the Common Travel Area, questions continue to be asked about the implications of the introduction of e-border controls. In a follow-up to his report on a statement from the DUP leader Ian Paisley, thanking Gordon Brown for “so robustly defended the integrity of the United Kingdom’s border” – although I did note the caveat required at the time – Frank Millar today reports in the Irish Times [subs req]

In a furious statement last night, Mr [Sammy] Wilson said the emerging detail rendered prime minister Gordon Brown’s recent assurances to DUP leader Ian Paisley “meaningless . . . or indeed even worse”.

As the Irish Times reports

[DUP MP Sammy Wilson] raised the temperature in the growing “e-borders” debate following private discussions between the DUP and home office minister Tony McNulty and written parliamentary answers from immigration minister Liam Byrne to the Conservative Northern Ireland spokesman Owen Paterson.

Mr Paterson had asked what the implications were of an e- border system “circumscribing Great Britain for travel between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland” and, specifically, what documents will be required under the proposed scheme for travel between Britain and Northern Ireland.

Mr Byrne replied by way of reference to section 14 of the Police and Justice Act 2006, which introduced a new power that will allow police to collate passenger, crew and service information on air and sea journeys within the United Kingdom.

The specific police requirements under this power are still under discussion and final proposals will be subject to a 12-week consultation. However, the minister told Mr Paterson: “It is expected that this police power will only apply to air and sea routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

“Passengers will not be required to use passports, but may be required to produce one of several types of documentation, including passports, when travelling, to enable the carrier to meet the requirements of a police request.”

The report goes on to record

However, Mr Wilson maintained: “If these proposals go forward people in Northern Ireland, who are citizens of the United Kingdom, will have restrictions placed on their travel to Great Britain yet, shockingly, this scheme will not be applied to those coming into Great Britain from the Republic of Ireland or France. If this plan goes ahead, the people of Northern Ireland will be treated worse than foreigners.”

The East Antrim MP said it was clear the new restrictions under the Police Act would require people using an airline or ferry company to provide written answers about where they were going, where and with whom they were staying.

This, said Mr Wilson, would “hamper last-minute travel by ticket users”, such as those travelling to football matches or making quick travel plans to deal with family emergencies or deaths. “This appalling plan will take away one of their fundamental rights, namely freedom to travel in their own country,” declared Mr Wilson.

Although the question might be, if the police power was only applied between Northern Ireland and Britain, would passport controls be introduced on passengers travelling “from the Republic of Ireland or France”?

Lord Trimble might be hinting at that possibility

Lord Trimble, a former Ulster Unionist leader and now a Conservative peer, also reacted angrily, saying: “Rather than reaching out to embrace the whole Common Travel Area [ between the UK and Ireland], the Home Office are retreating to a fortress Britain.”

Adds Tom points to the links to the quoted written answers to Owen Paterson’s questions.

And in the same series of written answers there’s this from NIO minister Paul Goggins, MP.

Immigration Controls

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with the Home Department on the Common Travel Area; and if he will make a statement. [176091]

Paul Goggins: There is a review of the operation of the Common Travel Area under way at present. However, there is no question of ending the principle that Common Travel Area nationals are not subject to immigration control on the internal borders.

I have had discussions with the Immigration Minister in the Home Office about the Common Travel Area. These discussions will continue as the review progresses. My officials are also in regular contact with their counterparts in the Home Office on this issue.

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  • joeCanuck

    We need a land link. Maybe, since he will be working down there anyway, Mr. Seeney could finish the link started by Finn McCool.

  • sms

    it seems that Sammy Wilson et al would rather be dead and deemed to be British than be alive and deemed to be Irish awfully loyal of them.Personally I haven’t travelled to the “mainland” for years without showing my passport and I will continue to do so if it prevents me from being blown up.Can we take it from now on that only Nationalists will be showing their passports while the loyal sons and daughters of ulster will be getting pulled to the oneside by MI5 for not showing theirs?. happy days.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    It always lookd like this would be the outcome – the sheer impracticality of trying to police the border in Ireland was going to be the overriding factor.

    It is obviolusly good news for those from the Nationalist/Republican side of the fence as it reinforces the concept of Ireland as a seperate entity and bad news for those form the other side of the fence like my namesake Sammy. Kent it aint.

    Can a Unionist please explain the underlying logic in remainig ‘loyal’ to a state that insists on them sharing power with people they consider murderers and shows no indication that there presence in the UK is anything other than at best tolerated.

  • Just to reiterate what the previous posters have stated, another sign that the Brits see you lot as foreign. That loyalty to a German family is quaint at best and extremely pathetic and sad at worst. I’m sure the Brits must chuckle when the see you lot getting apoplectic and roaring with your harsh Irish accents.

    Their only crime was loyalty. Happy days indeed.

  • Although the question might be, if the police power was only applied between Northern Ireland and Britain, would passport controls be introduced on passengers travelling “from the Republic of Ireland or France”?

    I made a freedom of information request related to this. Here’s the relevant part of the reply:

    Passenger, crew and service data (both passport data (Advanced Passenger Information- API) and booking data(Passenger Names Records- PNR) will be collected on those travelling from the Republic of Ireland to the UK by air and sea. The planned data fields are listed at Annex A. Although it is not currently mandatory to carry passports/national ID cards for travel within the CTA (Common Travel Area), for their own purposes the air and sea carriers require evidence of identity, which is normally photographic ID. It is not yet clear how passport data will be collected by HMG on CTA routes. It is possible that passports will need to be carried by CTA nationals in future to provide information to e-borders. Analysis suggests that passports are already carried by most passengers as tokens of identity on CTA routes. Differing levels of scrutiny are necessary for passengers travelling to and within the UK.

    Unfortunately, the e-borders team neglected to send me Annex A along with the rest of the reply. They have since apologised for this mistake. They have not however sent me Annex A.

    If they are going to be requiring passengers to provide passport data, the suggestion that ‘It is possible that passports will need to be carried by CTA nationals in future’ would seem to be something of an understatement.

    Elsewhere, the reply states: “In the case of British and Irish passengers travelling between the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain by air and sea, passenger information will be required to conduct customs and policing checks but not immigration checks.”

    As The Register pointed out last year, this may be something of a moot distinction.

  • joeCanuck

    Some form of ID will be required. We are living in new times and, to use a metaphor, you cannot square the circle.
    Republican crowing at Unionists isn’t in the least bit helpful.

  • Comrade Stalin

    We are living in new times

    Oh, don’t give us that. Terrorism wasn’t invented on 9/11. Britain has had terrorist attacks of one form or another for several centuries.

  • no nonsense

    joeCanuck when did you emigrate to canada what do you know about us if as i suspect it was 30 to 40 or more years ago then your totally out of touch and by the sounds of you you didnt really get to develop as an individual here. So you are really a canadian with views on ireland north and south but no real feel for how it is. So excuse me while as a catholic/nationalist i have lived all my life here. Many of my views and feelings were shaped by the protestant state in which i was allowed to live AND CONSTANTLY REMINDED THAT I WAS A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN.Allow me joe please a little inward smirk and a small chuckle.

  • Éireannach Saolta

    Harsh words against joe “no nonsense”. He’s only voicing his opinions.

    Getting an objective rather than a subjective view point oncce and a while can only be a good thing i think.

  • no nonsense

    I just thought that someone who is so in touch with their own inner self should allow the rest of us an odd chuckle the constant wrist slapping can get tiring. Especially over the trivial.Oh and by the way i was also only voicing an opinion.

  • RepublicanStones

    “mainland” sms…..where you from…. rathlin?
    britain is an island like ireland according to the map.

    ‘Many of my views and feelings were shaped by the protestant state in which i was allowed to live’- no sense

    ‘allowed to live’…strange choice of words there no sense, im irish i need no permission of anyone to live in this country !

    and ‘aul Sammy Wislon – “the people of Northern Ireland will be treated worse than foreigners.”

    anyone else find this funny?

  • joeCanuck

    Full of nonsense might be a more appropriate name.

  • joeCanuck

    You jumped to a wrong conclusion there, Comrade.
    I was thinking of economic “refugees” immigration by those who won’t stand in line. (I am totally in favour of increased immigration here to Canada, since I believe that immigrants give more than they receive).
    The facts would seem to show that Britain has more to fear from internal terrorism rather than external threats.

  • Comrade Stalin


    Sorry, I misunderstood. My knee jerks a bit when I hear people saying that we are breaking new ground and that the current concerns are not ones that we’ve had to deal with before. The terrorist threat from the IRA was far more serious than anything the Islamic extremists. Even at that time, the sweeping powers and restrictions over movement were not deemed necessary.

  • no nonsense

    Poor old RepublicanStones nothing to say really just a glove puppet someone who maybe just needs a hug and put to bed there there nite nite .

  • no nonsense

    Full of nonsense might be a more appropriate name.

    Posted by joeCanuck
    poor old joecanuk the name says it all joeCanuck enough said.

  • Dewi

    “The terrorist threat from the IRA was far more serious than anything the Islamic extremists.”

    Don’t know about about that Joseph…not really started yet.

  • Rory

    What, we might ponder, is “even worse” than “meaningless”? Any mate in Tottenham would shrug and answer, ” Much more worser meaninglessness o’ course”. And in that lovely vernacular might lie the true wisdom.

    But I suspect that for Sammy Wilson, in this matter at least, that which he considers as “even worse” than “meaningless” is the horror of the awful contemplation of that greater threat to his sense of things – the application of common sense.

  • The reality of the Uk’s land border with ROI remains.
    If the UK govt wants to pull up the drawbridge for reasons of national security (which is their right of course) then the bridge that will be raised isnt the one at Strabane.

    Unionists might find that,in one sense at least, they aint part of the British nation.

    This E-Border issue looks set to run and run……

  • Harry Flashman

    [b]no nonsense[/b]


    Were you really? How awful for you. I was born, bred and buttered in Derry, from a family of nationalists, and we were never second class anything, and anyone who tried to tell us we were second class would probably have lost a few teeth in the process, but here’s the thing, no one ever did.

    Who was telling you you were second class and when did you get upgraded or do you still believe yourself to be second class?


    *Don’t know about about that Joseph…not really started yet.*

    You know Dewi, I used to think like that too, now I’m not so sure. I think the jihadis are one trick ponies. They pulled off an almighty spectacular on 9/11 and we have spent the last seven years waiting for the next shoe to drop but I think that was it, they’ve got nothing left up their sleeves.

    Look at all the attacks and failed attacks on the UK; they’re pure amateur hour. Now I realise that amateurs only have to get lucky once, as happened in 7/7 but on the whole the great Islamic Holy War seems largely to consist of jihadi losers wanking themselves into a frenzy on internet chat rooms.

    When they eventually do get around to trying something out we get Dr SingeMeBalls of Glasgow or Richard “Damp Matches” Reid. The great sinister conspiracy which we are led to believe is plotting all this from its deep mountain lair seems remarkably incompetent.

    I’m with CS on this one, the Provos posed a much larger threat and we didn’t need all this melarkey then, it’s simply another power grab by the control freaks in the government.


    *I will continue to do so if it prevents me from being blown up.*

    Give me a clue, how will showing your passport to board the Stranraer ferry stop you being blown up?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Ulster fans travelling to the mainland for today’s game against Gloucester could do their southern brethern a real favour by conceding at least 7 tries therby allowing Munster an easier quarter final against London Irish rather than Gloucester provided the Welsh of Kaydiff travelling across the frontier to England can beat Brissel.

    Dewi, I think it was your goodself, in an earlier post that suggested Munster would not win their group? Llaneli now look in real crisis even with good young players coming through but weak up front and defections looking likely.
    What says you on the looming Twickers outing?

  • Oiliféar

    This is getting blown out of all proportion. So passengers traveling to from Northern Ireland to Britain by air and sea (as opposed to those who teleport over?) will need to produce ID at the check-in desk and this, along with other data on them, will be available to the UK police? A passport will suffice as an acceptable form of ID. Other forms of photo ID will suffice also.

    Big whup-te-do! So these records of traveler data could be implemented for any UK internal air and sea travel but is only going to be implemented for Northern Ireland-Britain travel? Big whup-te-do! Anywhere else it could be circumvented by just getting in a car. It doesn’t mean anything. And these clandestine talks between the Republic of Ireland and the UK? They mean that the UK and the Republic intend to collect the same information for Republic-Britain flights and sailings as well, and most likely will share it too.

    Not the end of the Union. Not the end of the Common Travel Area. Just a bit of post 9/11 paranoia. Our government are going to exploit the geographic reality of living on a pair of islands to track our movements and the movements of the “bad guys.” Big whup-te-do!

    Well actually, yes big whup-te-do. It mean that the Republic’s openness and liberalism is yet again being strangled by the UK’s isolationism and paranoia. Seriously, can we not just join Schengen? Then we could collect this kind of data and share it to our hearts’ content AND not turn our backs and cower from the reality of developments on the mainland.

  • cut the bull

    Republican stones

    and ‘aul Sammy Wislon – “the people of Northern Ireland will be treated worse than foreigners.”

    anyone else find this funny?

    Yeah its almost as funny as the interview Sammy gave after a loyalist mob attacked a funeral as it was leaving St Matthews Chapel in 2002.

    Sammy claimed the crowd attacked the funeral out of frustration because the PSNI had prevented them from entering the Short Strand area for two days.

    Why did a crowd of 100 plus Loyalists want to go into the Short Strand.

    Why was Sammy talking bollocks trying justify such actions.

  • Dewi

    Dewi, I think it was your goodself, in an earlier post that suggested Munster would not win their group?

    Can’t remember that Sammy – I’ve always been a fan

    Ospreys through and Blues should be OK in second half – need 4 tries to avoid Toulouse away….

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    excellent rendition.

    Cardiff Blues decision to go for a penalty when leading 14-0 was a shocker. They were effectively 3 scores ahead as a draw would have put them ahead of St.F. They surely should of been told by Dai Young to go for it in 2nd half – in reality away to Toulouse ( on this season’s form ) means they are out. But they have done Munster a massive favour by winning.

  • Dewi

    Maybe Sammy -they had plenty of time to go at the time and Bristol not a bad team….anyway Ospreys will take Saracens away …(please don’t quote me !)

  • Oiliféar we should join Schengen, but of course we wont.