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Lords cut Irish travel from e-Borders

Irish sea no barrier for now

The e-Borders programme suffered a setback after the government dropped plans to introduce immigration controls between UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands.

The £1.2bn e-Borders programme aims to introduce electronic checks on all travellers entering and leaving the UK by March 2014. However, after accepting House of Lords amendments to the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill, the government said it will remove a clause to introduce checks on UK and Irish citizens travelling in the Common Travel Area (CTA) between the two countries.

"We still intend to pursue these changes, necessary to enhance the security of our borders, and we will be looking to bring these proposals back to Parliament at the first possible opportunity," said a Home Office spokesperson.

He added that the Bill, which will enable the transfer of 4,500 customs officers from HM Revenue and Customs to the UK Border Agency, marks a "major milestone" in the way the UK protect our borders.

The CTA proposals are, he said, crucial to preventing abuse of the UK and the Republic of Ireland border by third country nationals.

Shadow immigration minister Damian Green said: "Conservatives have argued consistently that the CTA is useful for the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands and that the government was wrong in seeking to abolish it. We are delighted that our arguments have won the day."

This article was originally published at Kable.

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