As the House is aware, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade is co-ordinating the whole-of-government response to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. In this capacity, he is working closely with all Ministers, including me, to address the many challenges Brexit will present in a joined-up manner. However, I emphasise that it is the Government’s firm intention that the same Border arrangements as currently apply on the island of Ireland will continue into the future. In its approach to the negotiations the Government has ensured protecting the gains of the peace process and the avoidance of a hard border are high priorities for Ireland, our partner member states and the European Commission.
As the House is aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel. Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under active review in line with operational and security demands, including possible policing requirements post-Brexit. In that respect, I recently met the Garda Commissioner and his team to discuss contingency planning for Brexit and I am assured An Garda Síochána is preparing for it with a wide-ranging focus to determine operational requirements, including personnel and technology. I am also assured An Garda Síochána will continue to progress its contingency preparations and is committed to ensuring the organisation will be prepared for the associated policing implications and challenges arising therefrom.
My Department is engaged on an ongoing basis with An Garda Síochána as part of the deep and detailed work being undertaken across government and the public sector in response to the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union. In June departmental officials and a member of An Garda Síochána met representatives of the European Commission in Brussels to discuss North-South co-operation in the areas of law enforcement and police and judicial co-operation. Furthermore, An Garda Síochána is represented at a senior level in the ongoing discussions between my Department and the Home Office in the United Kingdom on the operation of the common travel area.