Strengthening the Common Travel Area..

The BBC report on the UK’s Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill states [Adds Despite what the BBC report says the Bill actually refers to The Republic of Ireland and the UK]

Air and ferry passengers travelling between the Republic of Ireland and Britain are to face routine passport checks under new laws. All EU citizens will have to show their passport or ID card on arrival at airports and ferry terminals from 2014.

Whilst in Ireland

Minister [Dermot] Ahern said: “We are currently developing a new Irish Border Information System (IBIS). This will operate on the basis that passenger information collected by carriers prior to departure will be sent to an Irish Border Operations Centre (I-BOC) where it will be screened against immigration, Garda, customs and other watch-lists. “In the event that a match occurs the relevant agency concerned would be alerted immediately, facilitating time to take appropriate measures to monitor, intercept, question, stop or arrest the individual concerned. “The Government has approved the development of the first phase of the system and I expect the roll out of the system will commence during 2010,” he added.

I think that’s what they meant by strengthening the Common Travel Area.. Adds See also Guardian report.
From a quick scan of the Explanatory Notes, this would appear to relate to the relevant section of the UK Bill.

Common Travel Area

223. Clause 46 enables routine immigration control, in particular the power to examine, to be applied to those entering, or who have entered, the UK from the CTA and to those leaving the UK for the CTA. At present such journeys are not subject to routine immigration control. The proposal does not in itself raise any ECHR issues. Where a person is examined any subsequent decision to refuse that person leave to enter the UK, or the use of any detention, search, seizure or arrest power, would have to be in accordance with the ECHR, as with the exercise of such powers when examining a person entering the UK from outside the CTA.

Further Explanatory Notes on Clause 46 here.

Clause 46: Common Travel Area

171. Subsection (1) of this clause amends section 1(3) of the IA 1971 by deleting the provision that a person arriving in or departing from the UK from or to another part of the CTA shall not be subject to control. This amendment will enable the routine control of all persons arriving in or departing from the UK via the CTA by aircraft or ship.

172. The clause does not affect the position that persons arriving from the CTA shall not require leave to enter the UK, unless they fall within one or more of the existing exceptions in section 9(4) of, or Schedule 4 to, the IA 1971, or in an order made under section 9(2) and (6) of that Act.

173. Subsection (2) amends the definition in section 11(2) of the IA 1971 of references in that Act to disembarking or embarking in the UK. At present disembarking or embarking from or to a place in the CTA is not included in such references. The amendment made by subsection (2) provides for journeys from or to a place in the CTA other than a place in the UK to be included in such references.

174. The effect is that the provisions of section 3(7) and paragraphs 3, 5 and 26 of Schedule 2 to the IA 1971, and the powers which are attendant to these provisions, and the related offences in sections 24(1)(g), 26(1)(e) and 27 of the IA 1971 will apply in the case of embarkation in the UK for a journey to a place in the CTA other than a place in the UK.

175. Similarly, paragraphs 5, 16(3) and (4), and 26 and 27(1) of Schedule 2 to the IA 1971, and the powers which are attendant to these provisions, and the related offences in sections 26(1)(e) and 27 of the IA 1971 will apply in the case of disembarkation in the UK after a journey from a place in the CTA other than a place in the UK.

And the Clause itself as contained in the Bill.

46 Common Travel Area

(1) In section 1(3) of the Immigration Act 1971 (c. 77) (general principles: the common travel area), for the words from the beginning to “a person” substitute “A person who arrives in the United Kingdom on a local journey from any of the Islands or the Republic of Ireland shall not”.

(2) In section 11(2) of that Act (meaning of disembark and embark), in paragraphs (a) and (b), omit “or elsewhere in the common travel area”.

For clarity here’s the relevant section [to (1)] of the Immigration Act 1971 [new link]

(3)Arrival in and departure from the United Kingdom on a local journey from or to any of the Islands (that is to say, the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) or the Republic of Ireland shall not be subject to control under this Act, nor shall a person require leave to enter the United Kingdom on so arriving, except in so far as any of those places is for any purpose excluded from this subsection under the powers conferred by this Act; and in this Act the United Kingdom and those places, or such of them as are not so excluded, are collectively referred to as “the common travel area”.

And the relevant section [to (2) above]

(2)In this Act “disembark” means disembark from a ship or aircraft, and “embark” means embark in a ship or aircraft; and, except in subsection (1) above,—
(a)references to disembarking in the United Kingdom do not apply to disembarking after a local journey from a place in the United Kingdom or elsewhere in the common travel area; and
(b)references to embarking in the United Kingdom do not apply to embarking for a local journey to a place in the United Kingdom or elsewhere in the common travel area.

Update From the Guardian report

A British proposal to introduce passport checks for those who fly from Belfast to the rest of the UK was dropped after strong opposition from Conservatives and Ulster Unionists. The imposition of border controls will however also apply to those who travel between Britain and the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

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  • niall

    The basic problem is that the Irish government is not and has not been fit to govern.

    There are of course countless examples of gombeenism that directly effect Irish nationals but the inability to take any responsibility for border control, or indeed protection from organised international crime is seen in Dublin as “not our problem” because we’re Irish and everyone loves us.

    London meanwhile is obviously concerned, tho probably not concerned enough, that even with free movement of people there should be some idea of who is in the country, and why they are here.

    Recent media reports on DWP fraud all had links to Fraud of the Irish Welfare state by the same individuals which only came to light when they were caught in the UK. This is a minor example of how the laissez faire approach to governance is problematic.

    Ah, sure it’ll all be grand! (as long as i’m making a hundred grand to hell with everyone else)

    What about all these cockneys caught landing drugs
    off Cork? Do you think it was first time unlucky?

    The Dublin government is unfit for purpose.

  • fionn

    I’ve travelled between Britain and Ireland a lot and I’ve always been asked for a passport. I would never consider going to Britain without one.

  • Oilifear

    fionn, same here. I’d never even consider going to (or more often than not pass through) GB without my passport.

    I’d prefer not to require it but don’t I need it to travel into Schengen anyway? Better to negeotiate a kind of ‘mini-passport’ for travel around the CTA that would be accepted for entry into Schengen.

    What I don’t like about this kind of thinking from the UK (and apparantly no thinking from the RoI) is that it seems to blank Schengen out as much as possible. Schengen is where the money is at. OK, so the UK don’t want to compromise it’s security. Fine – but there is no need for such (literally) insular thinking.

  • I wish the Unionists would stop blocking attempts to tackle illegal-immigration across the Irish Sea. Down here in the South our govt says that 97% of our illegals are coming in via the border. It is in the common interest of the govts of these 2 islands to put a stop to people-trafficking, and we should not allow an outdated fixation with symbolism and tokenism to get in the way. I hope that Clause 46 will lead ultimately to passport or ID checks in UK airports or ports en route to Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is the weakest link in tackling illegal immigration across the border, and I hope that the Unionist politicos eventually realise that and drop these tokenistic hang-ups. In the post-911 world, we can’t afford them. Terrorists can use the lack of passport/ID checks as a way of entering this island from Great Britain. Wake up.

  • niall


    I’m no unionist but disagree with what you say. The weaknesses are mostly in the south.


  • Niall they wouldn’t be getting down here if they weren’t first able to get up there.

  • Mack

    Niall at first reading your post looks like trolling, although in fairness I think it’s just hyperbole.

    There are customs / gardai policing the airports and ports. There is intelligence monitoring of known criminals and criminal gangs. The northern land border isn’t heavily policed (although I have seen gardai come onto the odd bus), so what Brian Boru says sounds more plausible.

    There are drugs smugglers that are successful in the UK too. I don’t think the problem in Ireland (Republic) is any worse than in the UK. It’s a difficult job to police, and ultimately there does have to be a solid return on investment made in those areas. Otherwise you could blow the entire gov budget just keeping track of people.

    Do you live in Ireland (Republic)? If not that might explain your negativity – I imagine you don’t hear news reports of successful Gardai operations..

  • Oilifear

    The weak link is certainly Northern Ireland but I don’t think it’s just unionists sensitivities that are to blame. Fixed border checks between the Republic and Northern Ireand would be abhorrent to the nationalists north and south.

    As for Niall’s example of drugs smuggling into the Republic being a demonstration of the weakness of the Republic’s border control – remember, Niall, 99% of those are not destined for the Irish market. From Ireland they are smuggled into the UK and Schengen demonstrating the weakness of those border controls too. Apart the recent high-profile case, those landing in Ireland do so not come from across the Atlantic but elsewhere in Europe (often Spain or Portugal) and the crossing point into the UK is not only Northern Ireland (the weakest link) but also direct to Wales. The weakness in border controls are everywhere.

  • Gavin Boyd

    Hi, slugger o’toole is a really cool blog, I am working with a travel company doing accommodation inspections through out Europe which is a cool job but right now I am on a ferry to amsterdam and a little bored so reading your slugger o’toole blog has cheered me up a lttle, keep the posts coming, cheers