THE British Army should be deployed to the Northern Ireland border immediately or the UK will face an influx of migrants, traffickers and drug dealers, a senior UKIP politician has urged.
David McNarry, the chair of UKIP Northern Ireland, said armed patrols of the 500 kilometre long border were essential in preserving the safety of British towns and cities — especially with a potential Brexit approaching.
If Britain votes to leave the European Union, Mr McNarry warned, the open border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland would be used as a backdoor entrance for "people who wish us harm".
The west coast of the Republic of Ireland is sparsely populated, making it a prime area for drug and people smuggling.
From there, McNarry fears, migrants or terrorists can easily travel through the Republic, across the unpatrolled Northern Ireland border and into mainland Britain via a ferry to Scotland.
He said a pre-emptive armed response was essential in blocking off what is the only land entrance into Britain from the rest of the EU.
He told Express.co.uk: "I see a porous border as a national security threat. We have almost erased our border in terms of drawing a line but everyone is so laid back about it.
"What is scary is that it is the UK's only land border. Cameron needs to spell out to the people of the UK how they will be protected from smugglers, drug dealers and people traffickers."
He said Cameron must deploy soldiers to the Irish border to prepare for a Leave victory in the June 23 EU referendum.
Mr McNarry said: "I support patrols, active patrols. We need to have the Army asserting our sovereignty.
"It's a hell of a job to ask anybody to do but if you leave it then it's wide open for migration, for the clever traffickers, for the criminals.
"They need to see that we're here and we'll do everything we can to stop people who wish us harm crossing the border."
Mr McNarry said the route from the Republic of Ireland to mainland Britain for migrants and terrorists was well-known and well-travelled.
He said: “We know the IRA did it successfully. It could happen again with dissidents or jihadis copying them.
“It is very easy to get into the Republic and make their way to Northern Ireland and across into Scotland.
“Neither the Irish nor ourselves operate in Schengen but it is open for the Turks to exploit.
“There’s no way they won’t see the access and get around with loopholes and into the UK.”
Mr McNarry’s request for armed patrols of the Northern Irish border is likely to spark anger from citizens who may see it as a rowing back of the peace process.
For decades, tensions in nationalist neighbourhoods were stoked by the presence of British troops, who were responsible for the deaths of 363 people during The Troubles — including 187 civilians.
Mr McNarry conceded “borders are sensitive issues” but insisted the presence of armed troops was necessary for the safety of Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
He previously told Express.co.uk that former members of the IRA were working with jihadis, teaching ISIS fighters how to manufacture car bombs for a Paris-style attack on Britain.