I am speaking today on behalf of the Minister for Justice on a motion referring to a draft proposal by the Council of the European Union relating to the extension of the period defined in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, TCA, to allow the continued sharing of DNA profiles, fingerprints and vehicle registration data, also known as Prüm data, with the United Kingdom. This is an essential tool for law enforcement across the EU and, of course, is of particular value to law enforcement co-operation between Ireland and the UK.
I trust Senators understand the urgency and necessity of the motion passing this evening. It is anticipated that the European Commission will have completed an evaluation of the UK by 30 June 2022 and a mechanism will be the subject of a separate decision, which will come before the Houses in advance of that date.
I will give some background information on this measure that emphasises why it is necessary for Ireland to take part in this measure. The EU-UK TCA stipulates that member states may continue to supply Prüm data to the UK pending the outcome of evaluations required by the TCA until 30 September 2021. This interim period can be extended once, until 30 June 2022, by the specialised committee on law enforcement and judicial co-operation.
An evaluation of the UK by the European Commission to permit ongoing sharing of Prüm data will not be concluded by the end of September. Consequently, the Commission has published this proposal to facilitate the extension of the period to ensure the continued exchange of Prüm-related data. Without the extension to the interim period, as set out in the TCA, Prüm data will cease to be shared between the EU and the UK from midnight, 30 September 2021. As Senators will understand, if this was to happen, it could have serious repercussions in the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases. The views of the Office of the Attorney General were sought and the legal advice received has confirmed that Oireachtas approval, under Article 29.4.7° of the Constitution, is required.
I emphasise that the effective implementation of the EU-UK TCA is an EU priority and Ireland will play its full part in that. I have previously mentioned that this is a necessary measure to ensure there is no break in the sharing of Prüm data between Ireland and the UK, data that is vital for law enforcement. Ireland's role in the EU has changed in recent times and will continue to evolve in the coming years. Full implementation of the TCA is necessary for us, not only to play our part as a member state but to ensure that our post-Brexit relationship with the UK continues to grow and develop. Part of this relationship is ensuring that the safety and security of our citizens is protected and this measure is necessary to do that. I trust that the House can support the exercise of Ireland's opt-in in respect of this measure.