The Scotland Office Minister David Mundell has visited Northern Ireland to see first-hand how the UK Border Agency (UKBA) monitors the Common Travel Area. He'll return to Cairnryan by ferry to meet Dumfries & Galloway Police and other stakeholders to discuss the policing of the Galloway ports.
The tour will include a meeting with the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Minister of Justice for the Northern Ireland Executive, as well as tours of Belfast City immigration control and a briefing from the team responsible for the oversight of Common Travel Area operations.
In Cairnryan, the Minister will meet interested stakeholders, local politicians and representatives of Dumfries & Galloway Police for a discussion on a recent UKBA report which reviewed working practices in place to help prevent illegal immigration through the port.
Speaking ahead of the visit, David Mundell said:
“The security of our borders is of paramount importance to all of us and I shall be looking closely at the way the arrangements are working on both the Northern Ireland and Scottish sides.
“Over the past 18 months UKBA and Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary have worked collaboratively on the policing of Stranraer Ports. Their combined efforts have ensured that a greater number of illegal immigrants have been intercepted in their attempts to travel onto mainland UK.
“The key to resolving this issue is working with the Irish Republic to ensure that it is not as attractive for people to come into their country and through the Common Travel Area into the UK.
"Understandably, the Northern Ireland Executive want to ensure freedom of travel within Ireland as envisaged by the Good Friday Agreement and don’t want the crossings to another part of the UK turned into an international border.
"We have to recognise and work with these sensitivities and that why I am going to Belfast ahead of my visit to Cairnryan."
More top news
Outbreaks of sleet or snow, breezy and turning very cold, the wind chill making temperatures feel like sub-zero. Warnings for snow and ice
Cumbria Police are looking to recruit more than 100 new police constables, just months after the force had been threatened by budget cuts.
The River Kent is being dredged again after more storms at the end of January washed up to 100 tonnes of gravel back downstream