Why doesn't UK consider Ireland a foreign country for the purpose of British law?



Why doesn't UK consider Ireland a foreign country for the purpose of British law? What is the philosophy behind it?

If we examine the history, it can be pointed out that more than half people in Northern Ireland considered themselves British and wanted to be part of the UK, while the rest wanted to join the Irish Free state to become United Ireland. This dispute was not easy to resolve. It happened that Northern Ireland was deemed UK territory for that time. Violent events followed and then came the Good Friday Agreement (I think everyone knows Irish history, so I am stopping here).

Considering this, a Common Travel Area was created wherein citizens of the UK and Ireland were not subject to immigration control and were not treated as aliens for the purpose of Immigration law. But the thing here to note is that if Northern Ireland was the chief reason for allowing Free Movement, then the UK should have allowed free movement from Northern Ireland, not the Republic of Ireland. But it is obviously the case that citizens of the Irish Republic who had absolutely no problem in losing British subject status or being a British citizen, were given free movement rights. And the British, who didn't really bother about all this chaos about NI, were granted the same movement rights.

What's more, the citizens of both countries are given rights that no 2 countries on the entire planet give to each others' citizens. (except obviously the European project; I am talking about countries which were not part of the EU (the EU didn't even existed then)). Why were such rights given to the people of the Irish Free State and the UK, when the whole debate was about the people of Northern Ireland? It were the Northern Irish people some of whom wanted to be with the UK and some with the Irish Republic. They could simply have given such rights to people born in or resident in Northern Ireland.

In British law, Irish people are not aliens (though they are not British). Similarly in Irish law, British people are not aliens (thought they are not Irish).

(1) The question: Why are British and Irish people not viewed as aliens in each others' countries? The whole issue was about Northern Ireland which was nicely solved by the Good Friday Agreement that granted the people of Northern Ireland the choice of claiming British or Irish or both citizenship(s), depending on which country they considered for themselves as "theirs". The whole issue was resolved by this. Why the extra special status?

For your information, Irish and British citizens have working rights, home student status (education rights), healthcare rights, free movement rights (without any condition like job offer or self sufficiency like the EU imposes), Social security rights, etc. in each others' countries. For a common man (and the majority of us are common people, aren't we?), these rights made effectively a common citizenship system if seen virtually. You're Irish? You have all the rights that people who are British have in UK without any conditions. You're British and you want to go and wander in Dublin and claim unemployment benefits? Well, you can and no one is stopping you!

(2) A consequent question would also arise: Is this practice of not viewing each other as aliens and giving equal rights in either country and the free movement right (due to CTA), all because of the Northern Ireland issue, or because of historically close connections? If the answer was "historical close connections", then it seems impossible to take away all the rights and end free movement in the event of Irish Unification. But if the answer was "because of Northern Ireland", then it is clear that all rights and special status and the free movement (CTA) will not be needed any more now that Northern Ireland has joined Republic of Ireland.

Some important documents that might help:

  1. Free Movement between the Ireland and the UK by Elizabeth Meehan, The Policy Institute

  2. Joint statement of 8 May 2019 between the UK Government and Government of Ireland on the Common Travel Area

  3. The Common Travel Area and the special status of Irish nationals in UK law

Jay Shah

Posted 2020-09-20T05:39:04.050

Reputation: 139

1Just to clarify, whenever I write "Ireland", it will mean the Republic of Ireland. When I want to mean Northern Ireland, I will explicitly write Northern. So the title is about RoI. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T05:44:00.523

10Have you heard about The Troubles? The Good Friday agreement? – Johanna – 2020-09-20T05:55:02.760

10The Troubles is the entire reason GB is treating citizens of NI and RoI basically the same. The conflict made it very clear how many people would be extremely unhappy if there was any difference between the two areas and the GB government decided to give in to their demands to prevent further conflict. – Johanna – 2020-09-20T06:01:08.080

1@Johanna I understand you might be suggesting something by asking that question, but there is a subtle meaning in this question, which makes it different from other related questions on this site. I know why a CTA exists (though I am asking why ROI and not just NI is included in it), but why the "not a foreign country status" to a previous dominion that declared itself a republic around 1950? New Zealand is too a dominion but they are viewed a foreign country. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T06:02:51.273

1Could you elaborate how treating RoI and NI people the same prevented conflict? I think a huge, huge majority in RoI wants itself to be seen as independent just like any other country like France. People in RoI did not ask for those rights ever as far as I know, but I may very well be wrong (so asking this question). – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T06:05:52.680


The relationship between Britain and Ireland is unique. And ever since Ireland became independent in 1921, there has been "free-movement" between the two. As a British person I have never needed a passport to visit Ireland. But you cannot possibly get to the heart of an answer without reading the history of Ireland from about the fifth century. A book I recommend is this one. It is a single volume which takes you from 1250BC to the 21st C. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Course-Irish-History-T-Moody/dp/1570984492/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+course+of+Irish+History&qid=1600584405&s=books&sr=1-1

– WS2 – 2020-09-20T06:54:50.210

1@Johanna The "Irish question" goes back way before the 20th century. At least as far as the Anglo-Irish-Scottish wars of around 1650, and probably earlier than that. I suppose with hindsight the subsequent history have been simpler if Cromwell had not stopped at killing around 20% of the Irish population but finished off the other 80% as well and then resettled the country with ex-pats in about 1560, but he didn't. – alephzero – 2020-09-20T18:43:11.763

@WS2: Indeed, IIRC as an American tourist (pre-EU) I didn't need a passport to travel between Britain and Ireland, any more than I needed one between England and Scotland. – jamesqf – 2020-09-21T02:16:12.143

You ask "Why are British and Irish people not regarded as aliens in each other's countries?" Fundamental to this is that the border has always been "open". And a very large number of the republican-leaning population in Northern Ireland are people who were born in the Irish Republic anyway. If you have ever taken a look at a map of the border (it appears as though drawn by a drunk - in some places going through the middle of a house, where the residents live in the Republic but sleep in the UK), and the extent that it is across water - you may to some extent understand the problem. – WS2 – 2020-09-21T08:35:58.043

1@JayShah I voted to reopen, but I think that the first paragraph of edited question where you explain why you edited should be removed. If you want to provide a reason for your edit it should go into "edit summary" field, not in the body of the question. – Danila Smirnov – 2020-09-21T10:58:54.590

2@DanilaSmirnov Done. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-21T11:06:39.663



Ireland is a foreign country in British Law. But as a result of shared history and a succession of treaties, the two independent countries grant a variety of rights to each others citizens. This is a choice of the two independent governments. It is expedient because of the geographical and historical context.

From the middle ages until the 1920s, Ireland was part of the UK (legally since 1801, but since the time of King John, Ireland was a feudal domain of the English King, and in the middle ages, the king held the real power). In 1921 Ireland was partitioned into two self-governing territories (both within the UK) then in 1922 the Southern part became independent (as the Irish Free State) but still a commonwealth Dominion of the Crown with a Governor General (rather like Canada or Australia). Then in 1937, it declared itself a Republic.

The Irish government in the South did not recognize the legitimacy of the the 1921 partition, and claimed all the land in the North, thus they claimed all the people in the North were citizens of Ireland de jure.

Under the terms of the partition, and independence was rights of movement between the countries. The UK continues to recognise the right of Commonwealth residents to vote in elections, and continues to recognise the right of Irish citizen that are resident in the UK to vote.

However British law, and (since the Good Friday agreement) Irish law too, recognizes the countries as independent. In British Law, Ireland is "foreign". The common travel area between Ireland and the UK is a consequence of a closely aligned history, and the agreements made in the 1920, 1930s and 1990s, and the disruption that ending such an arrangement would cause to people living on the border.

So to deal with the individual questions in summary

  1. Ireland is already a foreign country in UK law. It is special because it is the only European country to have a land border with the UK. The only one that was formerly part of the UK, and one of only two European countries that have commonwealth links to the UK (the other is Malta)
  2. The UK could have chosen not to allow free movement in 1922 or any time after that. The UK chose to allow free movement as a result of the historic close connections, and a desire to promote good relations between the two countries, and not deny common rights that people had had since time immemorial.
  3. The other commonwealth countries were never part of the UK. They are separated from Great Britain by oceans. People weren't used to walking from New Zealand to the UK and back everyday. People do walk from Ireland to NI everyday.

For a humorous example of how partition was done, and to understand why freedom of movement was essential, you could read the novel "Puckoon", about a village that finds itself divided between the Free State and the North.

This kind of border arrangement is not so unusual. Except at times of conflict, the border between Belgium and the Netherlands has been functionally open and in Baarle, it has always been possible to move from one country to the other. One could also note that until December 2022, Maltese citizens also have the right to free movement to the UK, the right to healthcare and education, and will continue to have the right to vote in the UK even after the end of the Brexit process.

James K

Posted 2020-09-20T05:39:04.050

Reputation: 70 324

1Thank you for the answer and especially suggesting that novel. I like reading! However I am not convinced by your answer. The common travel area between Ireland and the UK is a consequence of a closely aligned history, and the agreements made in the 1920, 1930s and 1990s, and the disruption that ending such an arrangement would cause to people leaving on the border. --- So if in the event of Irish reunification, will this closely aligned history be erased, creating 2 different foreign countries whose citizens will have no movement, healthcare, education etc.. rights as they did before? – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T06:15:30.127

2Probably not. The same close history would still exist. There are already two foreign countries if re-unification of Ireland happened it is likely that the current arrangements regarding movement and voting rights would remain. There would still be foreign (ie independent) countries... But who can tell the future? – James K – 2020-09-20T06:46:59.647

This is a good answer. In reply to @JayShah, such a unique circumstance as you describe could not have been achieved, had not both Britain and Ireland been fellow members of the EU. As for what might happen should Britain leave the EU with "no deal" is anyone's guess. But in terms of Anglo-Irish relations it will present huge problems. – WS2 – 2020-09-20T07:14:37.693

1@JamesK Yes they really are two foreign countries, fully sovereign and independent. But in their legal definitions, they do not consider each other foreign for the purposes of movement, healthcare, education and the other things I listed. That is 100% true. This is what makes them virtually the same country in the eyes of a common man. But obviously, formally they aren't. Also note that this question is not about the future. It is about the past, asking why they didn't consider each other foreign in their legal literature? – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T07:33:05.480

1@WS2 I am having difficulty in interpreting what you are referring to and in what context. But in terms of Anglo-Irish relations it will present huge problems.-- What do you mean by this? It will present huge problems in the even of unification, or hard brexit? – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T07:34:56.163

1They really aren't the same country. Not at all. Irish just benefit from two special things: free movement (which implies education and health care) But this is not unusual in Europe. And voting rights (but this is not unnusual in the commonwealth) Ireland is special in that it is the only European country that was formally part of the UK. – James K – 2020-09-20T07:36:21.677

1@JamesK New Zealand was too. It isn't even a republic like Ireland and also shares the same monarch. What makes NZ, for example, a foreign country for the purposes of education, movement...? – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T07:39:05.463

10New Zealand was a colony. Never part of the UK. Also its is 20000 km from Great Britain, so the number of cows that wander over the fields from New Zealand to the UK is quite small. – James K – 2020-09-20T07:41:10.467

7@JayShah You need to do some background reading. It is impossible to explain this in terms of political, or international-law theory. You have to grasp the history. An important part of the context is that the majority in Northern Ireland have an expressed wish to remain in the UK, held vehemently at the extreme. THe EU provided the hope of a solution, but this has foundered on the rocks of Brexit. – WS2 – 2020-09-20T07:50:28.603

1@WS2 I will certainly search for a copy of the book you recommended in my local library or purchase it. I admit I am not a real expert of Irish history, but I believe that I am capable to comprehend the answer of my question by the limited knowledge I have right now. That's my honest intuition and I may really be wrong (I will nevertheless read that book). – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T07:55:15.167

The edit done by @PhillS is helpful and improves James's answer by addressing my questions specifically. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T07:55:31.297

@JayShah I read it a few years ago during a holiday in Ireland - and discussed it over a beer or two in the evenings with local people. Many people think "the troubles" originate from the 17th century under Oliver Cromwell. But take a particular look at the Plantagenet monarchs from the 11th century. – WS2 – 2020-09-20T08:00:31.063

1(That was actually my edit, PhillS, corrected some of my terrible spelling. – James K – 2020-09-20T08:04:40.260

1So if I am not understanding incorrectly, Ireland enjoys movement, education, healthcare.. rights in the UK **chiefly because both countries were a single country prior to 1922 (and dating back to the formation of Ireland in the 5th century) and hence it would be wrong to halt the rights of people living on the Island of Ireland when Ireland didn't exist separately (prior to 1922).** – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T08:10:24.487

1Therefore, the story is that there was a single country for centuries whose people had equal rights, but suddenly in 1922, one country declared itself free, but it did not mean that there should be a difference between the rights of the people of the newly created country and the remaining part of the original country. Is this true? Consider the Partition of India and Pakistan by the UK. Before partition, Current India + Current Pakistan = Former India, so this is akin to Current Ireland + Current UK = Former UK . – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T08:11:18.707

1So many people had to abandon their homes, relatives, etc.. and migrate long distances to get to the country they wanted to be a citizen of. So many did that. And after the partition of India, Pakistanis had zero rights in India and vice versa. India and Pakistan became a totally foreign country to each other like the US is foreign to Mexico. You can search "Partition of India" and it won't take much time to realize how similar it is to Ireland's case. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T08:11:21.920

@JamesK Sorry for that:) Thank you for the helpful edit! – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T08:12:02.540

1As a second answer to my solution, is it right to assume that the reason the whole of RoI enjoys the rights rather than just NI is that NI is NOT the chief reason for those rights, rather the chief reason is that Ireland was part of the UK before 1922? And as Ireland was part of the UK before 1922, it was unfair to take away the rights. To support this claim, is it right to reason that if Scotland achieves independence from the UK (like Ireland did 100 years ago), Scotland will get those same movement, healthcare, education, housing, social benefits rights that the Irish currently enjoy? – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T08:31:27.310

Re Scotland, "probably" but who can predict the future. – James K – 2020-09-20T09:03:58.640

1@JayShah What "rights" exactly are you talking about? As things currently stand both countries are members of the EU - so there is the automatic right to free movement, freedom to work etc between them. In addition there has never been any control on people movements between them. Citizens of both enjoy the right to healthcare, when in the other. By further agreement citizens of each have the right to vote when in the other. Anyone born in Northern Ireland has the right to citizenship in either or both of them. The circumstances bear no resemblance whatever to those of India and Pakistan. – WS2 – 2020-09-20T10:41:35.333

1@WS2 I am referring to right to access healthcare in the same way as the British do. The right to education loans from the govt, home student status, equal employment opportunities in work and all other things that predates the European Union and will still continue after Brexit. Even before brexit, EU nationals did not enjoy right to reside in the UK without conditions like being job seeker or job offer or being self sufficient. Irish can come to the UK and depend on UK’s social security and use the NHS too. Same vice versa. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T12:20:48.167

1Europeans can’t just come to the UK as deadbeats but the Irish can. It strongly looks as if it is a common citizenship system virtually. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T12:20:54.227

@JayShah The UK is a bit weird at the moment because it is undergoing Brexit. But Germans can go to France as deadbeats even though nobody consider the two countries as having a common citizenship system – slebetman – 2020-09-20T15:32:27.190

1@JayShah That has always been the case. As I mentioned, movement of people has never been controlled - since 1921. And I believe Irish citizens can vote in UK general elections (as can Commonwealth citizens - though Ireland is not in the Commonwealth). Other EU citizens can only vote in local elections, if resident in the UK. Things like free healthcare are underwritten across the EU anyway. You simply apply for an E111 card and that guarantees you free treatment anywhere in the EU. Though what happens from next January is anyone's guess. – WS2 – 2020-09-20T15:54:02.643

1@WS2 That has always been the case and since 1921 there has always been free movement, but let us examine why exactly there was freedom of movement since 1921. I posted this question with the impression that it was the issue of Northern Ireland, that made Free Movement necessary (though I asked why RoI got the right as well without asking for it; it were the northerners who were fighting). Now, I am starting to think that NI is a side reason for free movement. It is the fact that Ireland was part of the UK once, so the UK did not want to cancel the rights of their former citizens..... – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T16:23:06.393

...who live in RoI. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T16:23:20.663

Can you confirm this understanding as right or wrong please? – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T16:25:48.280

5Just re-read the answer, I have already answered this. Free movement isn't legally necessary. It is a choice of the British and Irish governments. It is an expiediency given the context. And in the European Union, context, free movement is the norm. Deadbeats from France can go to Germany. Can I ask where you are living? How much experience do you have of modern Europe? Perhaps you come from part of the world where closed borders are the norm? and healthcare is only available to citizens. That is not the culture in Europe. – James K – 2020-09-20T16:48:07.637

1"Free movement isn't legally necessary. It is a choice of the British and Irish governments." --- What was the principal factor in your opinion that lead to this choice by both governments? Northern Ireland? "It is an expiediency given the context." --- It was an expediency as a solution to what? (Note that I am deliberately asking silly questions, obviously I know Irish history at least of the 20th century; please answer those questions for me as I am trying to find a subtle thing in the answer to that question) – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T17:08:44.483

1Also, one last time, narrate the context that directly reflects why the UK and Ireland chose to open borders and whether it is necessary to keep the borders open if everyone in NI happily agrees to unite with RoI. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T17:08:47.347

Ireland only became part of the United Kingdom in 1801, but had the same king since Henry VIII Tudor. However, since John I of England, the English king was also the lord of Ireland. – CSM – 2020-09-20T17:35:03.690

See my answer to point 2. It is the fact that prior to 1921 there was no border at all on the island of Ireland. There was a long tradition of people being able to travel from Dublin to Belfast and back. There was a strong desire on the part of the British to maintain good relations with the new Irish governement,and its people. Expedient as a solution to the problem of "how do we make the people support this partition". – James K – 2020-09-20T18:52:06.357

1"From the middle ages until the 1920s, Ireland was part of the UK" Well, we didn't have a UK until 1707, but I take your point. – J.G. – 2020-09-20T18:53:32.127

1I've already clarified that... Ireland wasn't independent of the Englsih monarch since 12?? – James K – 2020-09-20T18:57:52.143

2Well, this is on the HNQ now, so your wish may well be granted. – James K – 2020-09-20T19:27:07.940

3@slebetman under the free movement directive, a German citizen has no right to reside in France for more than three months unless the person is a worker, a student, in possession of sufficient resources for him or herself and dependents, or a family member of an EU citizen who meets one of these requirements. On the other hand, UK law explicitly recognizes citizens of Ireland as not being aliens. So the situation of German citizens in France is not in fact the same as that of Irish citizens in the UK. – phoog – 2020-09-20T19:36:31.993

1@phoog Exactly! I knew this but was hesitant in saying. Thank you for backing my claim! – Jay Shah – 2020-09-20T19:38:25.107

@JayShah Yes, it is true that Ireland and the UK do have a slightly closer relationship in this sense than is routinely available in the EU. The two countries also have their own free-movement union, a bit like Schengen - since neither of them are in Schengen. – WS2 – 2020-09-21T08:07:13.993

1@WS2 Have edited the question. Is it more focused than before now? – Jay Shah – 2020-09-21T08:08:25.623

@phoog In practice how often is an EU citizen expelled from another EU country because they fail to meet those tests? Very seldom, I would suggest. The UK finds it difficult to implement, simply because there is no record of a person's movements. It must be doubly difficult between Schengen countries. Nobody is going to try and round up all such people who have stayed more than three months since no one knows when they arrived anyway. – WS2 – 2020-09-21T08:13:58.880

1@WS2 But the fear of getting caught for not complying with the rules after 3 months may be a good reason not to break the rule. I guess sincere union citizens who travel for employment would rarely wish to go against the rules, though wilful defaulters are always there. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-21T08:19:44.047

@JayShah In many EU countries e.g. between the original six EU members I doubt it is enforced very much at all - except in the case of criminals. It may be more strictly applied as regards citizens from eastern Europe - the former Soviet bloc. – WS2 – 2020-09-21T08:26:23.223

@WS2 the UK chooses to not record the movement of people. The UK being an island makes it much easier for the UK to track entry and exit than any EU country. That it chooses not to, and therefore cannot apply the EU legal limits on freedom of movement is a choice made by successive UK governments. Nothing is/was stopping them. – Jontia – 2020-09-21T13:47:14.393


@WS2 fairly often. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expulsion_of_Romani_people_from_France for a well publicized example. In the UK from July 2016 to June 2017, it happened on average every 99 minutes (5,301 times altogether). These deportations have nothing to do with recording a person's movement but with finding the person living in the UK without a job and without sufficient resources. They don't endeavor to deport all such people. They can, however, deport any such person.

– phoog – 2020-09-21T14:06:26.843

1@Jontia it's not the UK's choice. EU law doesn't allow it. – phoog – 2020-09-21T14:10:58.860

@phoog EU law doesn't allow EU law to be implemented? Citation needed. – Jontia – 2020-09-21T14:35:37.730

@Jontia You misunderstand: I meant that EU law doesn't allow "record[ing] the movement of people" across EU borders when the are beneficiaries of the free movement directive. However, it seems that I was wrong about that. But you were also wrong: the UK does in fact record the movement of EU citizens across its borders (at least sometimes, e.g. air passengers). But that doesn't mean that it can't remove EU citizens who've been present for more than 3 months under certain circumstances: a border entry record is not the only way to prove that someone's been present for over 3 months. – phoog – 2020-09-21T16:29:55.223

@phoog so the UK government knows when someone is in breech of the 3 month rule, but chooses to take no action. That makes the original point I responded to even more off track. It is not difficult for the UK to implement it just chooses not to. – Jontia – 2020-09-21T16:47:42.453


Let us continue this discussion in chat.

– phoog – 2020-09-21T16:54:25.080


In addition to the reasons listed in the accepted answer, the migration of Irish citizens to the rest of the UK, over hundreds of years, means that large numbers of UK citizens have Irish ancestry.

This article in the Belfast Telegraph claims that 20% of English people, 43.84% of Scots and 31.99% of the Welsh are part Irish.

Many areas of Britain have strong communities of Irish extraction. Many prominent British people are Irish or of recent Irish ancestry; the current captain of the English limited overs cricket team is Eoin Morgan who was born in Dublin. Most of us work with people who are Irish or have Irish parents or grandparents.

The people of the two countries are still so tightly connected that it is not surprising that they have such a close relationship.

Dave Gremlin

Posted 2020-09-20T05:39:04.050

Reputation: 1 277

1How is this relevant? There are lots of people of Indian descent in the UK, but you don't see the UK granting a similar status to India. Rather the opposite, in fact, over the last century or so. – phoog – 2020-09-22T04:01:24.027


@phoog I have found a remarkable document revealing so much about the Irish's special status in UK law. Three chief reasons are mentioned: First is that it was impractical and undesirable to arrange for an Irish border, second is the fact that there were so many Irish people at that time than any other nationality and it was undesirable to classify such "common people" with social and economic connections as aliens, and third was it favoured the free movement of labour. See 1.3 Why was the CTA established?

– Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T05:38:02.867

1Also see page 13: 2.2 Why do Irish citizens have a special status? There's a speech by Clement Attlee: As everybody knows, there are in Britain large numbers of people of Irish descent, some born in Eire and some born in this country, and there is a continual passage to and fro of people who come over to work or to study or for pleasure. It would be an extremely difficult thing to decide in every case from day to day as to what the exact status was of a person with an Irish name, and if we had to attempt to make all citizens of Eire aliens,..... – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T05:41:36.123

1*......it would have involved a great expenditure of men and money and a great extension of control of aliens. We had in particular also to remember the difficulties caused because of the fact of the land frontier between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, and Eire. (…)* – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T05:41:53.953

1HOWEVER, there is a scholar, Bernard Ryan, who has claimed that the Irish border issue is the chief reason because of which the CTA exists, and which as a consequence brings the associated rights and special status of Irish citizens in the UK. In his paper, he doesn't even give any emphasis of social and economic connections. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T05:44:45.750

Professor Bernard concludes (if you see his other commentaries) that there is really so much haziness as to why CTA was actually created. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T05:52:32.063

Now, if I were to find out the reason of its establishment, and especially when it is hazy to find, I will ask the question, "What will happen in the event of Irish Reunification? If CTA is abolished in the aftermath of that event, it will be clear that the CTA's chief reason was the Irish border and nothing else (all other "social and cultural" and "Irish population in UK" reasons were only supportive and not serious or standalone). – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T05:56:32.350

1If, however, the CTA is not abolished even in the event of Irish reunification, it will be clear that the second reason about social, personal, economic, cultural things were, in fact standalone and *had as much weight in the establishment of the CTA as the Irish border issue had.* – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T05:58:58.363

So determining the answer to "what will happen to the CTA in the event of Irish reunification" will only truly answer this question. These are my findings and I think they are in the right direction. So what could happen if Ireland reunites, and the CTA is decided to be abolished? The situation for common Irish and British people would be the same like it is for Europeans in Britain currently. If this does happen (although it may happen in distant future or may not even happen, let us examine this for its own sake so that we can conclude on the reason for the establishment of the CTA),.... – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T06:04:41.053

1....then we will definitely witness a scheme very similar, or exact, to the EU settlement scheme (but this time, the scheme will be both in Britain and Ireland as both citizens reside in each others' countries). All this is not imaginary given that we know how the UK Home Office detests immigrants (especially illegal; the Home office has clearly demonstrated its dislike for legal ones as well and if you want proof I can give you in another discussion). If Ireland unites, the Home office will be extremely happy to impose immigration control on the Irish just like any other nationality. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T06:10:18.510

1The Irish govt might feel a little bad about this (as the CTA is more beneficial to them, I have proof for it again, ask it if you want), but there is a good point in it: they can join Schengen now that CTA is gone. So if Ireland and the UK peacefully exercise the GFA to unite NI with RoI, and a CTA settlement (like EU settlement) scheme follows, this will end the movement and rights of both the citizens. UK will achieve its goal of full border controls and Ireland will be able to join Schengen. Remember, if Unification is becoming likelier in 2 decades or so (fuelled by Brexit)..... – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T06:16:37.177

1......, then the following "EU settlement scheme"-like events will also follow for sure if the CTA's main reason was the Irish border and other reasons were not standalone but just supporting. If the Irish and British govts think that it is unreasonable to abolish a scheme that lead to movement in both directions over the decades, and abolishing such a scheme in the 21st century in which so much travel has occurred between the two, it will directly mean that when CTA was established, the social, personal, and economic links were, in fact, very much standalone like the Irish border. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T06:21:42.620

1This is the only line of reasoning we could employ to predict with certainty the actual reasons for its establishment, The future can discover the past. What we ought to find out is that whether UK and Ireland are interested to abolish all the rights of each others' citizens in the event of the Irish border issue getting solved aka Irish unification (like they abolished all the movement, healthcare, equal treatment rights of EU citizens in the event of Brexit). – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T06:26:37.347

1Note that UK has more influence and power than Ireland in all stages of the CTA right from its birth. It is Ireland that is obliged to implement UK's immigration changes. There is no example when UK implemented an immigration law what Ireland wanted to. So we have to effectively scrutinize UK's behaviour in such matters. Ireland was happy when CTA was born (one of the papers above mention that Ireland enthusiastically accepted to mimic UK immigration law when the UK was faced with the Border issue and asked Ireland to do so). The answer lies in UK's nature. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T06:30:53.823

1I will love to hear from @phoog, James, WS2, or anyone who wants to participate. Thank you – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T06:31:37.967

1NOTE: I have mentioned above that UK abolished EU citizens rights in the event of Brexit is badly written (that is not what I meant, but I can't edit now). I meant that after Transition period, EU citizens who are not already in the UK or not enrol for the scheme will lose rights. And from then, EU citizens will be ineligible for the rights they used to have in Britain previously (obviously those who enrol in settlement scheme won't lose anything) – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T06:39:21.803

1This is a good read too. – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T06:42:36.760

1@phoog The difference between Indians and other immigrant groups is time and integration. Irish people have been moving to other parts of the UK for hundreds of years, this accelerated during and after the famine of 1845-49. As a result, there have been long established Irish communities in the UK and many generations of intermarriage. Ireland is seen by many UK citizens as a sister state just off the coast. No doubt, in time, more recent immigrant communities will also integrate and influence British culture and communities. Who can say how India, say, will be regarded at that time. – Dave Gremlin – 2020-09-22T06:45:45.150

1@DaveGremlin I agree. While it is unlikely Indians will ever get such status in the future because of India's population, it is not wrong that there is a difference between Irish expats in the UK and Indian expats in the UK. The Irish have been there for centuries while Indian faces started to appear in Britain since the 19th century or so. I see the point. And sorry Dave, in the business of writing so much here, I did not realize that I invaded your answer's comment section while forgetting to mention your name to participate:-) – Jay Shah – 2020-09-22T06:54:14.967


@phoog Want to add anything? The bounty's grace period expires in 21 hours from now. So I have less time to judge, and I even feel that the bounty is wasted as this question was active 7 days ago (before I posted this comment), the day when I actually started this bounty. It has remained inactive since the start of this bounty. – Jay Shah – 2020-10-01T11:04:56.453