The Common Travel Area will remain after Brexit

Various politicians are participating in “project fear” over the return of border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.. To the contrary, the border will remain exactly as is including the free flow of trade. Former PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde even rolled out the falsehood that leaving the EU would mean the UK being unable to use Europol.  Although Richard Walton the former head of Counter Terrorism Command at New Scotland Yard has said: We routinely share intelligence across international boundaries … Read more

“The Common Travel Area is only for the benefit of Irish citizens and British nationals”

We never did have that reasoned debate about Schengen…  The Irish Times reports that a Dublin High Court judge has pointed out that Foreign tourists who leave the Republic for a day trip to Northern Ireland, without a passport or visa to enter the UK could, under Irish immigration laws, be refused permission to re-enter the Republic, a judge warned yesterday. The case involves a Bolivian couple, but in the absence of Schengen, it would seem to apply to all non-British … Read more

Irish exceptionalism wins through over the common travel area

The issues of British and Irish citizenship are for both sorts of Irish, nowadays largely symbolic and about identity, which they obssess about but which mystifies the English, who harp on the practical points . Until that is, a threat was raised to the common travel area. This was quietly lifted yesterday. It happened as the Commons staged a fascinating debate on the spider’s web of links between “these islands” in the final stages of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration … Read more

Strengthening the Common Travel Area.. – Redux

The Common Travel Area may have a future after all. The BBC are reporting that the House of Lords “voted by 193 to 107 to remove a clause from the Home Office’s Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill” which “would have introduced the right to impose controls over those travelling between the two jurisdictions.” Presumably that would be Clause 46 noted previously. [Update It appears that the debate was on an ammendment referring to Clause 48. Adds Ahh.. It looks like … Read more

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: … Read more

Common Travel Area to go?

It may have survived Irish secession and the second World War but it seems the Common Travel Area may soon be over. The UK intends to introduce an e-border scheme for all air and sea passengers in 2009. This would mean Irish citizens would need to be in possession of a passport when entering the UK by those means. The UK is not expected to apply the scheme to the land border and it appears the Irish government may introduce … Read more

The European Economic Area is looking more attractive as a Brexit solution but it aint perfect

It’s going to be a long haul. Perhaps we shouldn’t pay too much attention to the megaphone diplomacy – Junker’s claim that May was living in another galaxy, May accusing unnamed Commission bureaucrats of interfering in the British election. But it isn’t a good start. On balance May has come off slightly worse in early reactions without doing her any harm at all in the court of public opinion. Attention is turning back to an outcome that was  identified almost … Read more

Republicanism cannot have any no go areas.

There has been a small Twitter row over a recent election leaflet put out by Sinn Fein’s North Belfast candidate, Gerry Kelly displaying the number of Catholics and Protestants in the constituency. The debates about the rights and wrongs of the leaflet have been argued out on Mick’s thread on the topic and I don’t propose to cover that here, but it did get me thinking about the future direction of republicanism/nationalism. I write (or ramble) about republicanism and in … Read more

“At present persons granted an Irish visa are not permitted to use that visa to travel to the UK.”

Not that we didn’t already know that…  However, the Northern Ireland Tourism Minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, fielded a number of NI Assembly questions back in Feb/March on the issue of the Irish Government’s “Visa Waiver Scheme for nationals of 16 countries who hold a valid visa for entry into the United Kingdom.” Here is one of her answers I discussed this issue with Hugo Swire, NIO Minister of State last month. The Republic of Ireland, ROI, introduced a visa … Read more

Should the Republic return to the Commonwealth?

There is so much bad cultural blood between Unionism and nationalism, it’s good to see a few areas of common good will emerge at the weekend, or indeed across this whole six nations rugby championship, when the Irish rugby team won the grand slam for the first time since 1948. Politically, of course, the Irish team is a chimera. It isn’t quite what it says on the tin. But it says enough to most of us to command our undivided … Read more

“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 … Read more

The East-West Relationship (pre- and post-Brexit)

A lot has (rightly) been written about the effect of Brexit on the border and the economic, social and political impact this will have on North-South relations. While there has also been discussion of the East-West, British-Irish relationship, I think it merits some more analysis. There is a lot to consider: the extent of trade between the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain, the flow of people in both directions, the rights that have accrued over the decades as part … Read more

” Change should not be allowed to weaken the relationships so painstakingly put together across these British Isles. “

DUP Leader Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster MLA speaking at the inaugural Killarney Economic Conference this morning. Whilst the referendum was a vote by the British people, the ripples that flow from the referendum result will be far reaching with long-term implications for people well beyond the shores of the United Kingdom.  And I appreciate and understand that nowhere will be more impacted by the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union than Ireland.  I grew up only a few miles from … Read more

We are so used to seeing Northern Ireland politics as a zero-sum game that it’s hard to acknowledge a political deal which might benefit everyone.

Jon Tonge is a Professor of Politics at the University of Liverpool. He is the author of The Democratic Unionist Party: From Protest to Power. Oxford: Oxford University Press. We are so used to seeing Northern Ireland politics as a zero-sum game that it’s hard to acknowledge a political deal which might benefit everyone. That might partially explain why the endorsement of Friday’s Phase 1 Brexit agreement. Amid the ambiguity and verbiage what was tentatively and sensibly proposed was a … Read more

Unionist assurances come with a sacrifice of certainty…

Amidst all the hype, some reality from Irish Times veteran, Paddy Smith… The Northern Ireland provisions of the agreement signed on Friday morning between the European Commission and the UK sacrifice a degree of certainty about how the frictionless Border will be sustained for reassurances to the unionist community that they will not be treated apart from the rest of the UK. Unless, that is, the UK achieves its objective in the trade talks of securing a free trade agreement … Read more

Brexit and the British Empire

A spectre is haunting Europe. No, not that one. An uglier, messier one by far; the spectre of Empire. And if Europe is the haunted house in this metaphor, the UK is the creaking stairway where the spectre appears, Northern Ireland where you fancy you can hear it whisper in your ear. Brexit has shone a light on a lot of long hidden corners of the British psyche, none so alarming as the anti-Irish sentiment that has appeared since Taoiseach … Read more

Foster sets out the DUP view of a “Sensible Brexit”

The DUP Leader, Arlene Foster has set out her stall to members of the Lagan Valley DUP Association last night as to what she views as a “sensible Brexit.” I have highlighted some of the key passages; Some time ago I set out our Party’s desire to see not a hard Brexit or a soft Brexit but a sensible Brexit. A Brexit that works for Northern Ireland and for the whole of the United Kingdom. A sensible Brexit means that … Read more

Another leak against the Brits, but Theresa’s not for budging

Another leak to RTE, another bout of Irish pressure, accompanied by Irish Times columnist Stephen Collins joining a chorus of “ contempt” for British tactics and urging his government to stand firm. The (British position that the) Border issue should be dealt with in phase two of the Brexit negotiations dealing with future trade rather than in phase one as the EU is insisting. This is an obvious attempt to use the Border as a bargaining tool in the negotiations … Read more