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Most asylum applications in Ireland come by land from Great Britain, the minister says

“This is the challenge that we have, that we have been advocating for an open border on this island,” she said. “It’s definitely a challenge.”

“I would say it’s more than 80 percent,” the minister added as she gave evidence on Ireland’s decision to opt for new EU asylum rules aimed at speeding up migrant returns.

Britain and Ireland share a common travel area, which predates both countries’ membership of the EU.

The infrastructure at the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland has been gradually dismantled since the Good Friday Agreement more than 25 years ago.

During Brexit negotiations, Dublin insisted that the border on the island of Ireland would remain ‘invisible’, without infrastructure such as checkpoints.

It argued this would protect the peace process and secure Ireland’s place in the EU’s single market. Brexiteers accused Dublin of ‘weaponizing’ the border.

The UK and EU eventually agreed to create an Irish Sea border for British goods and animals entering Northern Ireland to avoid a hard Irish border.

The British region continues to follow hundreds of EU rules as part of the deal, which has angered some Unionists.