The Corner

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Precedent, Ireland, and Open Borders


One of my first pieces for National Review Online was a bit of a “modest proposal” to try Mary Robinson for war crimes. This was written tongue-in-cheek to highlight the flaws in the European desire to punish “indirect responsibility.” I’m sorry to pick on Ireland but, while catching up on some reading, this comment of Irish prime minister Brian Cowen’s caught my eye: “The government has formally requested the Israeli government to allow the Irish-owned shop…to be allowed to complete its journey unimpeded and discharge its humanitarian cargo in Gaza.”

Precedent matters. Ireland cooperates with the Schengen Agreement, signed in 1985, which has since expanded to create a common European area with stringent visa controls at its collective borders. But if the Irish government in its postmodern wisdom believes that its own arbitrary notions of social justice trump border policing, customs, and inspections, perhaps it’s time that Ireland stopped policing its own frontiers. No more passport control or customs checks at the Dublin airport, or at coastal ports. After all, Ireland faces only a flood of economic migrants from the developing world, certainly no existential threat.