Naomi O’Leary: Ireland’s travel policy curbed by Britain
State’s unique political and geographic siting severs us from EU agreements on borders
Dublin Airport: The open travel area between Britain and Ireland means the Government cannot join EU agreements on borders unless the British government does so too. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill
All around the world, the coronavirus pandemic has caused borders to become more apparent. On the invisible division line that winds between Belgium and the Netherlands, small crossing roads in residential neighbourhoods were blocked with mounds of earth and fences. One clothing shop cut through by the border in the town of Baarle-Nassau had to close the Belgian half of its business, while the Dutch part of the shop floor remained open, due to differing lockdown rules in the two states.
The dividing lines aren’t just national. In Australia, some internal state borders have been closed since March. People who travel from Sydney to Brisbane must quarantine for two weeks, and can be fined up to €8,200 for violating the rule. Meanwhile in New Zealand and many Asian countries, international arrivals are put up in mandatory quarantine hotels organised by the state.