Written answers

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Department of An Taoiseach

Brexit Issues

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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103. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if there has been discussions between his officials and officials of the British Government regarding policing borders after the Brexit negotiations in view of the fact that justice issues now appear to be a sovereign issue for the British government. [2734/17]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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It has always been the case that Ireland and the United Kingdom cooperate closely on immigration and border matters, in particular as they relate to securing the Common Travel Area (CTA) and we will continue to cooperate, and to strengthen that cooperation, in the future. Both Governments have publicly declared their commitment to ensuring no return to a so-called 'hard border' on the island of Ireland. There are excellent relations at official and political level in relation to enhancing the operation of the Common Travel Area and we are committed to that continuing.

In that regard, a central feature of the operation of the CTA has been that each State enforces the other's conditions of landing for non-EEA nationals, thus protecting each other's borders. In addition, cooperation extends across a number of other areas including the sharing of information and at an operational level on enforcement. For example, on the information front, earlier this year new arrangements to allow for the sharing of Advanced Passenger Information between Ireland and the UK in order to further enhance the integrity of the Common Travel Area were introduced. The development of the British-Irish Visa System was facilitated by this arrangement and indeed could not have happened without the electronic sharing of information such as biometrics.

The practical impact of Brexit on the operation of the CTA is being considered between officials of the Department and the UK Home Office, including at meetings of the Common Travel Area Forum jointly chaired by the Director General of the INIS and his UK counterpart. Of course, any negotiations on Brexit itself can only commence when Article 50 is triggered. While we will continue to maintain and enhance cooperation with the UK in relation to general immigration and border enforcement, Ireland remains a committed member of the European Union and will continue to uphold the right of free movement for all EU citizens after the UK leave the Union.

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