The Irish Government has published a new report on the border crossing rate, which has seen the number of border crossings increase by nearly a quarter in the last five years.
The report by the Border Regulation Agency (BRA) shows the number crossing the border at different times of the day have increased by 8% in the past year.
The majority of these crossing are for medical purposes, while other forms of crossing include for religious purposes and for humanitarian reasons.BRA chief executive Mark O’Brien said the figures are indicative of the increasing number of crossers that need to be screened before being allowed to enter Ireland.
“We’ve got to ensure that our border security is as robust as it needs to be in order to ensure the safety of those crossing our borders,” he said.
The figures also show that the number entering Ireland for work has risen by almost 25% over the past five years, while the number in Ireland for tourism has increased by nearly 9% in a similar period.
Mr O’Malley said the increase in the number is due to increased tourism, particularly in Dublin and Cork.
“This year, over half of all crossers from Ireland came to Ireland for a visa,” he added.
Bridget McNeill of the Border Control Association said that while the numbers of border crossers are high, the number at the border is not.
“They’re still crossing and that is the primary reason why the number has increased,” she said.
“It’s the reason for the increase because the number, the flow of people, the quality of the crossing is improving.”
Border crossings in IrelandThe Border Regulation Authority (BSA) said that a significant proportion of the people crossing the Irish border for work are not Irish citizens.
“The Irish Government’s focus has been on border security, not border management, and the numbers coming across are now well under the quota,” Mr O’Boyle said.BSA chief executive Mr OBoyle has been asked to report back to the Government on the impact of the increase, and whether it can be reduced.
The BSA has also been asked if it will provide additional border patrol teams to patrol Ireland’s borders.
“As well as increased police presence at border crossings, there is a real need to enhance border controls and enhance the capacity of the Garda and Border Patrol in relation to their mission to protect our borders, Mr OBrien said.
Mr McNeill said the Border Patrol has a role to play in this.”
If we do not see significant increases in the numbers crossing our border then we will need to do something to ensure border control does not fall further short,” she added.
The Government has said that the Border Protection Agency will be working with the Border Force and Border Protection Commissioner on the implementation of a scheme to improve the safety and security of border areas.
The Border Patrol Agency said that border checks would be expanded in the future.”
While border checks are being increased across the State, we will ensure that those coming across our border for the purpose of commercial purposes and humanitarian reasons do not have to cross the border and that they are screened appropriately,” it said.