Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (334)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

334. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the way in which a no-deal Brexit scenario will impact on the level of criminal justice co-operation which exists between parties to the agreement and the UK specifically with respect to outstanding European arrest warrants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30633/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can assure the Deputy at the outset that it is the firm intention of the Government and the British Government that the current high level of criminal justice cooperation will continue in the event of a no-deal Brexit scenario.  Cooperation in the area of law enforcement, particularly in relation to Northern Ireland, is at an all-time high and the Government is determined to maintain this.  The Deputy will be aware that national security is outside the competence of the EU, so ongoing day-to-day cooperation in this area with the UK will continue following Brexit, whatever form it ultimately takes.

Notwithstanding this, considerable planning and preparation across the criminal justice area has been ongoing to take account of the potential impact of Brexit, including in relation to ensuring the continuance of effective extradition arrangements between Ireland and the UK.  This is necessary because of Britain’s proposed departure from the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system.  While the EAW will cease to apply when Brexit occurs, the High Court in the meantime is continuing to deal with outstanding UK EAW cases with a view to minimising the impact of Brexit in this regard.

Following examination of the options available for extradition arrangements between Ireland and the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the fall-back solution is to apply the 1957 Council of Europe Convention on Extradition, to which both Ireland and the UK are party, to extradition arrangements between Ireland and the UK.  The provisions of the Convention are given effect to by Part II of the Extradition Act 1965.  The 1965 Act has been amended by Part 13 of the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019, which can be commenced when Brexit occurs, in order to ensure that this is a workable solution.