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Irish government dismisses British claims that border controls are ‘primitive’

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The Dublin government has defended itself against British claims that Irish border control is lax and ‘primitive.'

The response came after British officials said the Northern Ireland border is allowing non-nationals easy access to the UK.

The suggestion has been rejected by a spokeswoman for Dublin’s Department of Justice who told the Irish Independent that the country’s border controls are ‘effective and robust.'

Dismissing claims that travelers can cross into Northern Ireland easily, she insisted that any measures imposed are in line with those in the UK.

The spokeswoman also stated that the fact that no passport checks are carried out between Ireland and the UK due to the Common Travel Area (CTA) agreement in no way lessens the country’s control of who can or cannot enter.

She said: “Ireland is a sovereign nation and, within the overall context of our membership of the European Union, our partnership with the UK in the operation of the CTA in no way alters our control over immigration or visa matters and who can and cannot enter or reside in Ireland.

“That said, co-operation on CTA policy and operational matters is now at an unprecedented level with regular and ongoing communication and consultation between the immigration authorities of both countries.

“This has been hard won, taking many years involving lengthy discussions and negotiations to bring it to where it is today.”

Reports claim that the British Government is to give manpower and technology to Ireland to increase controls along the border.

The spokeswoman said the CTA agreement, which has been in place since Ireland gained independence in 1922, had been of ‘immense political, social and economic significance’ to the Republic.

She added: “Co-operation between the two countries also involves senior officials now meeting on a very regular basis and it is rare that a week would pass without conversations between Irish and UK counterparts at a senior as well as at an operational level taking place.

“Also at an operational level, large amounts of information on non-European Economic Area passenger movements to and within the Common Travel Area are exchanged on a daily basis.

“At the initiative of Ireland, details pertaining to people arriving in Ireland are now passed to the UK as a matter of course, thus further enhancing the effective co-operation between our two countries.

It makes sense that both countries’ strategies and technologies are compatible. The checks at our borders are effective and robust.

“There is access to all standard international immigration watch lists and police databases. Approximately, 3,000 persons are refused entry to Ireland annually.

“Unlike the UK, we have the legal powers to refuse entry to a non-national attempting to illegally enter the state along the land border.

“Such checks are not systematic and there are no plans to change the situation but more non-nationals have been refused entry along the border than at any other point of entry to the state except Dublin Airport.”

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