Politicians are participating in ‘project fear’ over the return of border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
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 and Brexit would not affect this. The European security organisations – Europol and the Schengen Information System – are both interesting constructs per se.
“But Europol, while a useful discussion forum, is largely irrelevant to day-to-day operations within the counter-terrorism sphere; and the Schengen Information System does not necessarily control the movement of terrorists across borders – besides, you don’t have to be in the EU to use it.”
Indeed both Hugh Orde & Richard Walton both signed a letter published in the Telegraph calling for tighter border controls whether we leave the EU or not. Orde further cited the European Arrest Warrant – a scheme which risks serious injustices to UK residents.
The Common Travel Area between the UK & Ireland stems from 1922 and the Ireland Act of 1949 which confers `non foreign status` on all Irish citizens.
The Fact Check NI website concludes that British & Irish citizens “Travel between the UK and Ireland is currently unaffected by EU membership…British-Irish border cooperation could increase” . This conclusion is backed up by Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Charlie Flanagan stating “Ireland would work hard with the UK and with our EU partners to avoid customs posts being established and to preserve the benefits of the Common Travel Area as a whole.”
Th 2011 bilateral Ireland-UK accord further strengthened the CTA with a joint “commitment to preserving the Common Travel Area (CTA) while further cracking down on illegal immigration and spurious asylum claims….. joint standards for entry and ultimately enhanced electronic border systems to identify those with no right to enter the CTA before they arrive at the border” and to “promote the exchange of information such as fingerprint biometrics and biographical details, particularly from ‘high risk’ countries, as part of the visa issuing process.”
This clearly indicates that security checks would be at the CTA level after leaving the EU which would allow the continued free flow of people across the ROI/NI border. And only last month the British & Irish government concluded a new deal on sharing passenger information to aide the fight against terrorism. Secondary checks at airports and ferry ports between GB & the island of Ireland would also facilitate security.
I have no doubt that the UK would conclude a deal to remain in the single market allowing the 5% of UK businesses that trade with the EU to continue as normal whilst freeing up the other 95% from EU red tape.
Alan Day was a Ukip candidate in Mid Ulster in the recent election