- Apr 25, 2008
A lot of hot air about the Common Travel Area and it is fair to say it is one of the most sacred cows in the paddock. A article today in the Indo by an ex diplomat Niall Holohan got me thinking. Why do we need the CTA? Let's face it you need passports to get on most planes and boats no anyway and apart from the 6 counties it really makes little difference. And even then you are dealing with an island so a mechanism can be put in place. Maybe I am wrong but a particular piece jumped out at me in the article...............
I can see the benefits of Schengen but should really not be in Schengen just to safe guard a situation where we are a back door border guard for the UK?The CTA is essentially a mechanism which enables the UK to control immigration into Ireland. In other words, Irish immigration authorities have to ensure that all non-nationals requiring visas to enter Ireland from outside the CTA are pre-approved by the British Home Office.
In my own experience serving in Irish embassies abroad, there have often been interminable delays while I waited for such pre-approvals to be granted for visa applicants wishing to holiday or study in Ireland - who under any other circumstances could only be described as highly desirable visitors. One could not help but suspect that requests for visa clearances emanating from our Department of Justice did not rank highly in the Home Office's list of priorities. Needless to say, consultation did not take place in the opposite direction.