“In common with the Republic of Ireland’s approach to travel within the CTA..”

Fair Deal got there first, but the actual proposals – “Strengthening the Common Travel Area” [direct pdf link here] – are worth noting. The proposals on the Common Travel Area follow from the Cabinet Office report in November last year and are expected to be implemented via the the draft Immigration and Citizenship Bill. As Mick noted a week ago it’s presented as a reciprocal move to what’s already in place in the Republic of Ireland. Not that there was much public debate in advance of some of those moves.. From the consultation document [pdf file]

Sea and Air Routes between the UK and the Republic of Ireland

2.1 In common with the Republic of Ireland’s approach to travel within the CTA, we intend to:

• carry out checks on passengers and their documents on sea and air routes arriving and departing from the UK to the Republic of Ireland for border control purposes. The nature of the examination by an immigration officer will depend upon a passenger’s status as a CTA national or a non-CTA national, similar to the ways in which European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and non-EEA nationals are processed when arriving in the UK;

• activate e-Borders monitoring on air routes by 2009 and sea routes by 2010 arriving in or departing from the UK from or to the Republic of Ireland. Documents will be required to prove passengers’ identity and nationality on these routes; and

• apply carriers’ liability charges to air and sea routes from the Republic of Ireland to the UK.

2.2 The introduction of routine immigration checks represents a substantial change to the UK’s operation of the CTA.

2.3 We propose to bring forward new legal provisions to allow us to:

• examine non-CTA nationals and require evidence of their identity and nationality through a valid passport or national identity card, as is customary on other international routes into the UK;

• examine CTA nationals and require satisfactory evidence of their identity and nationality through documents to be determined following this consultation; and

• carry out searches of vehicles departing to and arriving from the Republic of Ireland.

2.4 Accompanying the power to mount border controls on routes between the Republic of Ireland and the UK will also be the capability to apply carriers’ liability charges to air and sea routes between the Republic of Ireland and the UK. We know from experience that this measure can significantly reduce the number of inadequately documented arrivals on UK soil. We need to work with industry to understand how to implement a carriers’ liability regime in a supportive manner to maximise our collective benefit from it.

Overland travel between the Republic of Ireland and northern ireland

2.5 There is no intention to introduce fixed immigration controls on the land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

2.6 However, mirroring activity in the Republic of Ireland, the UK will consider increasing ad hoc immigration checks on vehicles to target non-CTA nationals who have travelled illegally to the Northern Ireland side of the land border.

2.7 Further practical joint working initiatives have been identified in the wider package of CTA reform focusing on reducing the harm caused by abuse of the arrangement. These include a number of intelligence-led operations and further co-operation on data sharing to protect the integrity of our border controls.

The public consultation closes on 16 October 2008.

As reported in the Irish Times

However, the publication of the paper by the UK Border Agency left unresolved symbolic and sensitive political issues surrounding the question of possible identity checks for people travelling between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. The home office in London confirmed that this will be the subject of a separate consultation to be launched in the autumn.

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  • willowfield

    This is ludicrous.

    How can undermining the Common Travel Area by introducing checks within it (i.e. it is no longer a common travel area) be sold as “Strengthening the Common Travel Area”. We’re not stupid!

    Perhaps this is “Strengthening Security”, but the means of doing so is to end the CTA.

  • joeCanuck

    How can undermining the Common Travel Area by introducing checks within it (i.e. it is no longer a common travel area) be sold as “Strengthening the Common Travel Area”.

    Willow,
    Haven’t you read 1984? Or, now you see it, now you don’t.

  • Greenflag

    Like it or not it’s necessary to prevent abuse of the CTA by non CTA nationals . A bit of an inconveniance to have to carry ID or a passport when travelling between jurisdictions but then people carry credit and bank cards etc etc .
    I believe then they will have ‘channels’ at airport and ferry arrivals which will allow CTA nationals to pass through most of the time without needing to show documentation . Non CTA or non EU nationals will presumably be required to show proper travel documents etc .

    It’s not a big deal . The land border between the Republic and NI complicates matters a little but that’s just another ‘add on ‘ cost to partition .

  • joeCanuck

    Do you know if the Republic has plans or is considering the introduction of I.D. Cards, like Britain, Greenflag? That would take care of the CTA problems, would it not?

  • Greenflag

    JC,

    Short answer yes.

    Whatever the UK decides to do we’ll probably end up doing something very similar particularly if the ID cards are used for say access to the NHS etc . With 16 million people travelling annually between all the countries within the CTA (Britain , Ireland and Channel isles ) it would only make economic and social sense that any ID cards would be mutually compatible /user friendly etc .

    It’s wait and see for now as usual . Our ‘sovereignty’ in these kinds of matters has as always it’s practical limitations despite what the more raucous of our little Irelanders would have us believe 🙂

  • A N Other

    Much ado about nothing…the policy is already in place & has been for some-time

    I remember the Belfast bus to Dublin I was on being stopped at Dromad, about two years ago (before the next stretch of cross-border motorway was opened).

    This wasn’t the first time any of the buses I was on from Belfast heading South had been stopped (and yes, it was just con-incidence!)

    Anyways, on steps the Garda sergeant asking everyone for ID/passport…Everyone begins to comply – except the passagners from NI/RoI & England (all of whom strangers) who all exchanged looks of bemused bewilderment with each other (as none of us had bothered to bring any form of formal photo ID with us.)

    Upon being requested to produce ID, the guard
    hears the various excuses in accents easily-traceable to specific areas of the this part of Western Europe (i.e Belfast, Liverpool & Waterford (!) – I had a GAA jersey on me) & simply leaves us to it…

    I do remember him being extremely strict on all passagners whose nationality/place of birth was not immediately obvious from the anglicised versions of their accents.

    Moral of the story here:- it appears to be a clamp-down on dis-ingenious (& I want to emphasise that point strongly) non-EU/US/Aus, etc citizens; which is no bad thing in my view.

  • CS Parnell

    I do remember him being extremely strict on all passagners whose nationality/place of birth was not immediately obvious from the anglicised versions of their accents.

    In other words it is a racist policy. If you are black you’ll be target number one. No blacks, no Irish, errr, maybe not.

    It’s a disgrace.

  • A N Other

    CS,

    I wouldn’t call it a racist policy.

    There’s passport checks when you fly from Dublin/Belfast to the mainland UK; having a cross-border check south of Newry is merely an extension of this.

    I’ll put it like this – if the bus is 50% full of Dublin Jackeen & ‘Shafty mucker passangers; then what’s the point of expending time questioning these guys re: their photo ID/passports?

    A cursory conversation with each should quickly conclude that each of the above passangers is “a native of the island”.

    A simplistic, if crude example.

    However, common sense then dictates that these guys can be quickly crossed off of the list of any potential “illegal” passangers, thus freeing up more time to check the remaining travellers whose background isn’t readily/immediately known (without the aid of a passport, etc)

    Call if pragmatism to save-time, the application of common-sense, even ignorance – but certainly, labelling it as racism is nothing short of ridiculous.

    And to complete the argument, if the remaining 50% have valid visas/passports => happy days; away the bus goes; & no offence should have been caused/taken.

    My final point is this:-

    any policy that attempts to strengthen cross-border controls with the sole purpose of ensnaring illegal/bogus “non-residents” (for wont of a better phrase) is to welcomed.

    It’s in everyone’s interest that both NI & RoI take a keen interest in the security of our shared-border.

    Those who are travelling on the bus in our example with valid documentation should have nothing to fear.

    Stirring up xenophobic, ergo racial tensions is not what the anecdote above was attempting to do (nor do I believe the garda sergant was, for that matter).

  • George

    Parnell,
    “In other words it is a racist policy”

    Don’t know where you jump to that conclusion. The same thing happened to me on the bus in south California. We were pulled over by immigration officials who asked all and sundry to state where they were from.

    Only those who failed to provide the requisite American accent were required to provide ID.

  • heck

    Could someone help me out here? I thought the reason Ireland did’nt join the Schengen countries was because it would have to introduce ID checks between Ireland and Britain. If they are being introduced anyway why does Ireland not sigh up.

    greenflag–If I don’t need ID to travel between France and Germany why should I need it to travel from Dundalk to Newry.

  • Shane Mwangi

    i ll be much more happier if the Republic can join the Schengen Zone.

    It embarrasses me when my non-EU freinds who work or studies in the mainland Europe finds out that they ll need to apply for a visa in order to visit me in Dublin 🙁

    Shane

  • heck

    shane

    I think ireland should join the Schengen Zone and defy Brown to put passport controls on the border. I would bet the controls would move to liverpool, heathrow etc.

    This whole ID thing is pandering to the little englanders who want to keep the wogs out and shame on ireland for going along with it. (Britain should join the Schengen Zone as well, but if the don’t-screw them)

  • Dave

    Heck, let me see now… Ireland the UK should give up control of their sovereign territorial borders to the EU, allowing that illegitimate emergent state to further its integrationist agenda by seizing yet another property of sovereignty from member states, just because you don’t want the terrible inconvenience of spending fifteen seconds every few months or so showing your passport at some checkpoint or other? Selfish or what?

    And, by your own logic, what other function do you think the Schengen Agreement has other than keeping “the wogs” out of the EU? It doesn’t abandon national borders, does it? No, it simply redraws the territorial map politically to make the ‘national’ border that of the emergent state of the EU. So, if borders equal racism in your world, then that racism isn’t removed by the expedient of Schengen.

    All you are doing, unwittingly or otherwise, is allowing the EU defalcators to engineer the harmonisation of different peoples that it requires to build its new state. You are being merged into a common people with a common national identity living in a common state of Europe, wherein the key delineators of the nation state – sovereignty, territorial borders, control of the state by a nation – are being transferred to the Euro-federalists by the stealth of a multiplicity of pretexts and bogus ‘common interest’ agendas.

    If the UK wants to stop people entering its territory from Ireland, then let it put borders along its own borders. If nothing else, it’ll serve to remind the cultural nationalists in the north of why they should be constitutional nationalists.

    By the way, who do you think is going to have your details in its database (Schengen Information System)? It won’t be your old national government, kid: it’ll be in the database of your emergent national government.

  • Oilifear

    “Ireland the UK should give up control of their sovereign territorial borders … just because you don’t want the terrible inconvenience of spending fifteen seconds every few months or so showing your passport at some checkpoint or other?”

    15 seconds, eh? Sounds like a sweet deal. Sign me up for that.

    As for the changes to/ending of the CTA, this really is no change. How else would one travel between our islands without boarding a boat or aeroplane? Am I not already showing my ID to Ryanair? Did we not already need an “approved” photo ID to travel around the CTA? The story, surely, is that now they will be collecting that data on behalf of our governments.

    Far more exciting are the proposals for a common or mutually recognised visa. How long then before we negotiate mutual recognition between “our” visas and Schengen? Or recognition of “our” IDs (as the Republic will surely follow the UK in some shape or form) as a passport. I know anecdotally that Schengen folks are traveling in and out of Ireland with nothing more than their national IDs.

    “By the way, who do you think is going to have your details in its database (Schengen Information System)? It won’t be your old national government, kid: it’ll be in the database of your emergent national government.”

    Whooo … I’m scared!! But maybe I should not be because, leaving the paranoia to one side for a moment, Dave, it is the old national governments “have” your details when you enter and exit Schengen. Notably, even the UK and Ireland “have” your details from the Schengen Information System as do nations, Iceland and Norway, that are not a part of the “emergent national government”.