Renewal of border checks with Britain proposed

 

The first formal border checks between Ireland and Britain in more than 80 years were proposed by the two governments today.

The governments have agreed a range of measures to check the identity of travellers, both at a national level and joint initiatives, to strengthen the Common Travel Area, the passport-free zone set up in 1925 following Irish independence.

In a joint statement with the British home secretary, Jacqui Smith, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern said it was crucial that the countries worked together to ensure the strength of the borders.

However, they said that the proposed measures recognised the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland.

"Both Governments reaffirm that they have no plans to introduce fixed controls on either side of the Irish land border for immigration or other purposes," he said.

However, Mr Ahern said state of the art border technology, joint sea and port operations, and the exchange of intelligence would be used. This would include electronic border management systems to count people arriving and leaving the country, and identify "people who may be of interest to our law enforcement authorities".