I know a political campaigner who challenged the ID requirements for British Irish Travel by taking a train from Belfast to Dublin without
carrying any form of ID. South of the land border the train was boarded by the Garda who went round asking for ID documents. The individual, who is white caucasian, simple declared that he was a 'Common Travel Area Resident' and, as such, did not require ID. The Garda moved on to the next passenger.
The UKBA say this about the Common Travel Area (CTA):The UK and Ireland to improve the Common Travel Areahttp://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsarticles/2011/december/70-uk-ireland
The CTA is the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. People travelling within the CTA do not generally need to carry a passport or national identity document for immigration purposes.
They cleverly do not define generally
thus creating some confusion and the perceived impression that ID is required. Politically the CTA has recently been a luke warm potato as the UKBA has argued for tighter controls to stop illigal immigration. However, the scale of abuse due to the lack of formal border controls would appear to be very small:Illegal Immigrants: Northern Irelandhttp://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2012-01-10c.87909.h
Damian Green (Minister of State (Immigration), Home Office; Ashford, Conservative)
The Department holds the following information on how many people were detained while trying to enter the UK illegally through (a) Northern Ireland ports and (b) the border with the Irish Republic in each of the last five years.
(a) 2007—51, 2008—83, 2009—39, 2010—33 and 2011—30.
(b) In 2009, we detained 37 people close to the land border in support of a Police Service of Northern Ireland operation. As the Irish/UK land border is a part of the common travel area (CTA), it is not subject to formal immigration controls.
The authorities like to create the impression
that ID is required for British - Irish travel. In fact it is not.