Leading article

Border stop and search proposals would have serious implications

While considerable attention has been focused on the Brexit withdrawal bill, another piece of legislation which could have far-reaching repercussions for the border has been making its way through Westminster largely unnoticed.

The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill contains proposals that, if passed, could have alarming implications for people in the border area of Northern Ireland.

Under the terms of the planned legislation, any member of the public could be stopped within a mile of the border to establish if they are entering or leaving the north. An 'examining officer' may question the person to determine if they are engaged in 'hostile activity.'

It is not clear if this means police or border force officers will be patrolling the border area and being able to stop and question any person they wish without due cause.

Obviously this would be viewed with deep concern, particularly at a time when efforts are under way to ensure there is no hard border on this island following the UK's departure from the EU in March next year.

It is also worrying that this proposed legislation, which contains other broadly-constructed measures that will raise serious questions and cause widespread concern, has already passed the committee stage and could come into law before Christmas.

These proposals must be subject to careful scrutiny and assessment with political representatives making sure we do not end up with a hard border as a result of Brexit or any other form of legislation.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access

Leading article

Today's horoscope


See a different horoscope: