Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Questions (164, 165, 166)

Niall Collins

Question:

164. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason Ireland has chosen not to take part in the European investigation order directive of the European Parliament and Council regarding the European investigation order 7 March 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23937/14]

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Niall Collins

Question:

165. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the Government participated in the Council of the European Union debate on the European investigation order; the reservations that were raised and alterations proposed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23938/14]

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Niall Collins

Question:

166. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the Government plans to revisit its decision not to participate in the European investigation order scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23939/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 164 to 166, inclusive, together.

In 2010, Ireland chose not to opt into the draft European Investigation Order (EIO) proposal on the basis that it was inconsistent with Irish law and practice. We did, however, indicate our willingness to consider the matter further after adoption, subject to the instrument being compatible with Irish law and practice.

The EIO was recently adopted and it is due to come into force in 2017. In this regard, my Department is engaged in consultations with the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Garda authorities to establish whether Ireland might now be in a position to opt in to the instrument. Once these consultations have concluded, the question of opting in to the EIO will be further considered.

Ireland fully participated in the negotiations on the EIO and, indeed, chaired the negotiations on the proposal with the European Parliament during our Presidency of the Council in 2013. Ireland raised a number of issues concerning the proposal including the grounds for non-recognition and non-execution of an EIO and, in particular, the absence from those grounds of a dual criminality provision with regard to certain coercive measures. Finally, it should be noted that Ireland's non-participation in the EIO does not, in any way, affect our rights and obligations to seek and afford mutual legal assistance with reference to existing instruments.