The Irish Government is agreeable to Irish ports and airports being used as part of a frontline to control immigration into Britain.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said neither the Irish or British governments wanted a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland.
“So, if you do not have a border, going from Newry going across, dividing Sligo and Donegal from the northern counties, the next step is to have your controls at the ports.”
“So that would mean Rosslare, and Larne, and the airports, but that wouldn’t be much more than the normal checks we have at airports already, where you show your passport.”
Mr Noonan was responding to comments from Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire who said the Irish and British governments would work to strengthen Ireland’s external borders after Brexit, to make them proxy ports of entry into Britain.
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said the Irish Government was agreeable to Irish ports and airports being used to control immigration into Britain.
Ms Fitzgerald said there was “not anything surprising” in Mr Brokenshire’s views and that such a move would avoid the re-establishment of a hard border between the North and Republic.
However, Government moves to make the State’s ports of entry proxy border posts for Britain is likely to meet with strong political opposition.
In an interview in the Guardian, Mr Brokenshire said there was now a “high level of collaboration on a joint programme of work” between the two states to control immigration.
“We have put in place a range of measures to further combat illegal migration working closely with the Irish Government,” Mr Brokenshire said.
“Our focus is to strengthen the external border of the common travel area [CTA], building on the strong collaboration with our Irish partners.”
Responding, Ms Fitzgerald said even in the absence of Brexit, co-operation between both jurisdictions would have continued to combat illegal immigration.