Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (807)

Catherine Connolly


807. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the criminal justice (passenger name record) Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32897/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The European Union (Passenger Name Record Data) Regulations (S.I. 177/2018) were introduced to give effect to the non-discretionary provisions of Directive (EU) 2016/681 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime in May 2018, in accordance with s.3 of the European Communities Act 1972.

The Directive provides for the collection and processing of PNR data by Member States and for the exchange of PNR data between Member States.  The Directive provides for the establishment of a Passenger Information Unit (PIU) in each Member State to collect, process and exchange PNR data. Air carriers are required to provide advance PNR data to Member States’ PIUs on all flights entering or departing the EU - that is extra-EU flights.  PNR data is analysed by the PIUs and transferred to other Member States’ PIUs and to national competent authorities for further analysis when persons considered a possible threat have been identified. Ireland’s PIU commenced operation in Dublin Airport on 25 May 2018 last.

The Directive also provides for a number of discretionary provisions in that Member States may also require airlines to collect PNR data in respect of flights operating within the EU - that is intra-EU flights. The PNR requirements of the Directive may also be extended to travel agents and tour operators which collect and process PNR data.  Drafting of the Criminal Justice (Passenger Name Record) Bill, which will give effect to a number of the non-discretionary provisions of the Directive, is at a preliminary stage.