At the end of June 2009, there were 524 prisoners from the Republic of Ireland serving sentences of imprisonment in England and Wales.
Given the cost to the British taxpayer of their incarceration, and that only Jamaican and Nigerian nationals have higher populations in our jails, why is Her Majesty’s Government not returning to secure detention in the Republic Irish nationals who consent to go?
Such arrangements are voluntary. If people wish to go, their returns can be facilitated, and there is no reason why not. We no longer deport—except in exceptional circumstances—at the end of a sentence of imprisonment because of the operation of the common travel area, which means that people can simply return.