Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has told the Dáil that Ireland should follow the UK in introducing electronic border controls.

The move could mean that Irish citizens would have to carry a passport to travel to Britain in the future.

But Department of Justice sources have insisted there is no proposal to abolish the Common Travel Area between Britain and Ireland.

A spokesperson said the Government was studying whether to introduce similar border security measures to those being proposed for Britain, in order to improve security in the Common Travel Area.

Mr Ahern was responding to questions in the Dáil about the Common Travel Area between Ireland and Britain.

The agreement has allowed people to travel between Ireland and Britain without showing a passport.

However, in 2009 the UK will introduce tighter border controls under their e-border system.

UK citizens will carry biometric ID cards and foreign nationals staying longer than six months will need a biometric ID card.

Mr Ahern told the Dáil that if the UK is introducing such measures the sensible thing for Ireland is to introduce a similar system.

He also added that over 90% of illegal immigrants to Ireland come through the border and not through airports and ports.

The Home Office in the UK says it has no immediate plans to introduce passport checks on passengers travelling from the Republic of Ireland to Britain.

And it is understood any move to implement ID checks will not apply to the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

However, it is understood the introduction of the e-borders system in 2009 would mean that passengers would have to hold a valid passport to finish their journey, in effect ending the Common Travel Agreement.