The former Brexit minister accused Dublin of failing to respect Northern Ireland’s place in the UK. He said that Ireland was failing to accept there was an international border between the province and the Republic.
Lord Frost was responding to a statement from Ireland’s foreign secretary Simon Coveney, attacking the Government for the “regrettable” decision to impose border clearance requirements on EU citizens crossing the border into Northern Ireland.
He said No10 had “ignored” concerns raised by Dubin and that the new requirements were contrary to the work done over “many years to protect free movement on the Island of Ireland for everyone”.
In the House of Commons last night, non-Irish EU citizens will be required to apply online for pre-travel clearance – known as Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) – when entering any part of the UK.
Critics have warned the checks risk border checks being imposed on those crossing from the Republic of Ireland to the UK.
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Britain has pledged the new legislation will do nothing to harm the Good Friday Agreement and will continue to allow free travel for Britons and Irish citizens.
Hitting back at Mr Coveney, Lord Frost said the Irish government was failing to recognise the international border on the island of Ireland, acting as if it had control of Northern Ireland.
He said: “The border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is an international border between two different countries.
“One could be forgiven for thinking occasionally from Irish government public statements that sometimes they forget that.
“Obviously we must have rules for third country nationals entering the UK via that border just as at all others.
“And, for the avoidance of doubt, though after all these years it shouldn’t need saying, that does not of course mean those rules have to be enforced at the border.”
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Since the UK left the EU transition period at the start of 2021, Northern Ireland has remained the cause of friction between the UK and the continent.
Brussels has taken a hardline stance on warning no checks can take place between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in order to protect the Good Friday Agreement.
In a separate row to the visa waiver scheme, Britain has accused the firm approach taken by the EU of undermining the UK’s internal market by imposing customs checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea.
In order to ensure no hard border was imposed on the island of Ireland, the Government agreed in Brexit negotiations to the Northern Ireland Protocol which sees checks being carried out on goods crossing from Britain to Northern Ireland.
But ministers have accused the EU of being overly “purist” in the implementation of the checks, straining the free flow of goods within the UK.
Negotiations are currently underway to try and find a solution to the problems caused by the Protocol.
The UK has warned it will pull the trigger and suspend the international agreement if Brussels refuses to compromise.
Mr Johnson is due to soon meet with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, to discuss the clash points.