An internal memo from the Brexit negotiations concluded that Ireland would not be able to keep its borders open to EU migrants, according to documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The memo, which was circulated by WikiLeaks and published by the Irish Times, was signed by Liam Byrne, the minister of foreign affairs, and Liam Fox, the foreign secretary.
The document said that the Irish Government would “not accept any migrants entering or leaving the UK without proper documentation”.
“We will not be accepting new migrants from EU member states without proper documents,” the document reads.
“We will have no access to border checks and we will not provide any guarantees for the return of migrants who have been rejected or who have returned from the EU”.
The document was leaked to the Irish media by Snowden, who revealed that he had obtained the documents by working on behalf of the whistleblowing website, the Intercept.
In his letter, Mr Byrne wrote that “as of June 2019, we are not taking new migrants to Ireland”, adding that “we will not take them into the UK and we can’t take them out”.
Mr Byrne’s office said that he “did not have any formal discussions” with the foreign minister, adding that the document was not a government official.
The leak came a day after the Irish government announced that it would not accept a new influx of migrants into Ireland, and announced it would stop paying for asylum seekers in Northern Ireland.
Mr Byrne wrote in his letter that he was “not aware of any specific plans for a return of asylum seekers from the UK”.
However, he added that “given that we are unable to keep the border open, it is unlikely that any new migrants will come to Ireland”.
“It is unlikely any new arrivals will come in from the European Economic Area,” he added.
“The Government is aware that this is an issue that will need to be addressed in future, but is committed to continuing to work towards a common approach with EU countries on this matter,” a statement from the foreign ministry said.
“In the interim, we will continue to work with the EU and other countries to achieve the necessary legislative and operational framework.”‘
A massive loss’The memo also revealed that Ireland has not been able to secure “an effective mechanism for returning migrants” to the UK.
Mr Fox, who has been a minister since March 2019, said that “it is clear that Ireland is unable to take in migrants who are already here and who are not genuine asylum seekers”.
“The fact that Ireland cannot secure the necessary legal mechanism for return of genuine asylum claimants to the United Kingdom is a massive loss for Ireland and its people,” Mr Fox said.
The Irish government has not responded to the leaked documents.