Current Affairs Politics

UK Seeks Border Force For Ireland But No Irish Need Apply

The news that the United Kingdom is advertising twenty-one new jobs for the Belfast branch of its Border Force, an immigration and customs control agency, should come as a surprise to no one. Whatever pledges the UK may have made about abstaining from the imposition of an inevitably militarised frontier around its legacy colony in the north-eastern corner of Ireland should be taken with a large pinch of salt. Prime minister Theresa May has backtracked on several previous deals with Dublin and Brussels, and those arrangements left standing are under continuous attack by senior members of her own Conservative Party government.

If London was determined to avoid the reestablishment of a “hard border” to demarcate the boundary of its anomalous territory on the island, it would hardly go out of its way to specify that any persons applying for the Border Force positions must be British subjects with full UK passports. This rule is in place because the jobs are designated as “reserved positions” in civil service speak, and individuals employed in them “…require special allegiance to the Crown”.

Of course, such a regulation excludes those residents of the Six Counties who have opted to assert their Irish (and European Union) citizenship, including the use of Irish passports, in line with the multi-document Good Friday Agreement of 1998; the peace accords cosponsored and signed by Ireland and the United Kingdom. In other words by using the same stipulations for the Border Force that apply in Britain, the UK authorities are at the very least stretching some of the basic tenets of the Dublin-Belfast-London settlement to breaking point.

It certainly indicates that the country’s previous sensitivities about the functioning of the British state in the north of Ireland, where no such restrictions apply when joining other public agencies including the paramilitary police or PSNI, may be a thing of the past. As we have seen repeatedly throughout the last two years, Brexit is an ideological virus which has infected almost every aspect of the United Kingdom as a functioning nation-state.

12 comments on “UK Seeks Border Force For Ireland But No Irish Need Apply

    • Interesting vid. I’m not sure about the view that, just because the Six Counties gets a special arrangement Scotland should do so as well.

      As he concedes, its a matter of three nations and a part of another nation. That is the crux of the matter The territory of “Northern Ireland” cannot be compared to Scotland. It exists in a unique constitutional position and under unique and bilateral, international arrangements with another sovereign entity.

      The Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 and all subsequent treaties have conceded, comprised and diluted UK sovereignty over a contested region. One with two national communities, as it were.

      Scotland on the other hand is an integral member of the UK, with no similar history. As the HMG stated as part of its legal submissions during the Scottish independence referendum, Scotland joined England in an act of union in the 1700s (though the legal briefs regard this as a mere annexation of neighbouring territory to an existing and continuing state). Ireland was a colony and remained in a colonial relationship with the UK even after the “union” in the 1800s.

      Then, one cannot escape the fact that the Scots were offered a get-out-jail card and they refused it. Albeit by a less than healthy margin. The polls still indicate a lack of support for independence. Even in the face of full Brexit, if offered the opportunity, the Scots would possibly vote no again.

      I think Scotland will have to recognise that a unique and disputed region like the Six Counties requires yet another unique solution. One not applicable across the North Channel. However unfortunate that may be.


      • I take your point, but nevertheless Scotland and NI are both ‘special cases’ although each is ‘special’ in its own individual way. Westminster seems to consider Scotland to be a part of ‘Greater England’ same as conquered Wales, and formerly Ireland. But historically it’s one of the two entities that united to form the UK of GB. So is the re-established Scottish Parliament simply a creature of Westminster, like the Welsh Assembly, or is it, as was stated when it first opened, the original pre-union Scottish Parliament reinstated? Note also that Scotland (like NI??) has its own distinct legal system that was never merged with the English one.


  1. Likewise in Holyhead, increasing the Border Force but not policing.


  2. Great spot ASF. It really does underline their priorities.


    • Since the officers will based in Belfast, in retrospect, I wonder if that will be the focus of their operations? Inter-island customs duties? An Irish Sea air/sea customs border?


  3. The rabid Tory Brexiteers use the expression Empire 2, that is indicative of what they are on about, the Windrush scandal shows the lengths they will now go to throw people who were invited in the 1950’s who are all people of colour . Neo Fascism is the new politic in the UK.


  4. Personally, I just don’t know at this stage what the UK is up to? I suspect that the pressure will yield an Irish Sea customs border of some description but you really can’t tell any more.


    • I wonder if May will do as the latest press reports suggest and challenge the Brexiteers on the customs union? It seems a mission impossible for her in the present UK political and parliamentary climate.


      • Could be. The problem though is that the UK staying in the CU doesn’t seem to do what needs to be done if we are to keep the 6-County border as is (invisible). That requires the CU plus the single market (SM). Indeed, arguably you can’t have one without the other in the northern context. So, back to square one.


        • 2018-2021 is going to be a very interesting period, that is for sure. The Drumcree standoffs or the flags’ protests are probably apt analogies for what may lie down the line once the “Protestant/Catholic” demographics move to the predicted cross-over moment.


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