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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
New Britain-Ireland passport move
Passports may be needed to travel between Britain and the Republic
Travellers between the Irish Republic and Britain will need a passport when schemes launched by the two governments come into force.

Irish officials have been asked to work on ending an agreement permitting free movement between the two jurisdictions.

This follows reports that Britain is to put an electronic border control system in place by 2009.

Britain is not expected to implement the system at the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

The Home Office said it "had no immediate plans" for passport checks on travellers from Ireland to Britain.

The move by the governments, reported by the Irish Times, will mean the end of the Common Travel Area between Ireland and Britain which has existed since the foundation of the Republic.

Ireland should follow the UK in introducting electronic border controls
Bertie Ahern

This would mean that anyone travelling between Ireland and Britain would need to carry a passport so that information about their movements will be available to authorities.

The system is designed to collect information about a passenger in advance of travel to and from the country so that authorities can be alerted if someone on a watchlist is on the move.

The system is being put in place to track terrorist suspects, criminals and illegal immigrants.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said Ireland should follow the UK in introducting electronic border controls.

The taoiseach said that if the UK was introducing such measures the sensible thing for Ireland would be to introduce a similar system.

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