Saturday 7 December 2019

Almost 550 non-nationals stopped and held at Border

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton Photo: Michael McHugh/PA
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton Photo: Michael McHugh/PA
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Almost 550 non-nationals were stopped and detained after trying to enter Ireland illegally through the Border with Northern Ireland in the past two years.

New figures from the Department of Justice show 7,437 people were refused entry into Ireland in the same period.

The majority of those stopped by immigration officers were non-nationals arriving in Dublin Airport without the appropriate documentation or clearance to stay in Ireland.

However, the Border with Northern Ireland recorded the second highest number of people seeking to enter the country illegally.

Irish authorities have also referred about 300 non-nationals suspected of "immigration-related abuse" to their UK counterparts, and half of these people were subsequently arrested.

Last month, Northern Ireland's police chief constable George Hamilton criticised Ireland's border controls during a Westminster Committee hearing on the impact of Brexit.

"I think it would be fair to say that immigration controls into the Republic of Ireland may not have the same resource or focus that we would be seeing," he said.

However, senior Department of Justice figures dismissed Mr Hamilton's comments and insisted close co-operation between the two jurisdictions had led to successful operations aimed at stopping non-nationals crossing the Border illegally.

Irish Independent

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