I propose to take Questions Nos. 442 to 444, inclusive, together.
Arrangements may be put in place, in accordance with the law, whereby members of services from outside the State may be licensed to carry firearms for the purposes of providing close personal protection.
Under Section 2 the Firearms (Firearms Certificate for Non- Residents) Act 2000, the Minister for Justice and Equality has a power to grant firearms certificates, including to official security personnel from other jurisdictions, where it is deemed necessary to do so. Decisions in relation to the grant of certificates to such personnel are made in accordance with the legislation and following consultation with the Garda authorities. This is a normal and established feature of relations between states.
The arrangements that may be put in place for the protection of individuals are first and foremost matters for the Garda authorities, who have operational responsibility and who work closely with their police and security counterparts in this regard. An Garda Síochána and the PSNI co-operate on an ongoing basis in what is an essential relationship in guaranteeing security and community safety on this island.
A reciprocal arrangement is in place since 2013 between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI relating to the carriage of firearms in relation to certain people travelling between the two jurisdictions. The agreement of the Minister for Justice and Equality was obtained in respect of the arrangement and the grant of firearms certificates for this purpose is undertaken in accordance with the provisions of the Act of 2000.