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Irish government ‘confirms’ no police being sent to NI border

Ireland’s Government has “confirmed” there will be no Irish police deployed to the border on the island, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) said.

The Northern Ireland Secretary and the Irish deputy prime minister held a phone call on Wednesday evening amid diplomatic tensions after Dublin said there had been an upsurge in asylum seekers crossing the border following the passing of the UK’s Safety of Rwanda Act.

Concern was raised after Irish justice minister Helen McEntee said her department was planning to make 100 additional police officers available for “frontline enforcement work”.

While Dublin insisted they would not be “assigned to physically police the border with Northern Ireland”, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told the Commons he wanted “urgent clarification” that there would be no disruption or checkpoints near the border.

In a statement later on Wednesday, the NIO said Northern Ireland Secretary Christ Heaton-Harris had a “constructive phone call” about illegal migration with Irish deputy premier (Tanaiste) Micheal Martin.

It said: “The Tanaiste confirmed that there will be no deployment of officers from An Garda Siochana (Irish police) to the Northern Ireland/Ireland border and that the Irish Government shared a steadfast commitment to securing the external border of the Common Travel Area.”

Another focal point of the diplomatic row centred on Dublin passing emergency legislation to deem the UK as a “safe country” for the return of asylum seekers.

Both governments have acknowledged the existence of an “operational agreement” which provides for the reciprocal return of asylum seekers between the UK and Ireland, but Downing Street has said it contains no legal obligations to accept them.

The Prime Minister said he was “not interested” in a returns deal if the European Union did not allow the UK to send back asylum seekers who had crossed the English Channel from France.

Source: The Standard