Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Ceisteanna (50)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

50. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the contingency and scenario planning his Department is undertaking in respect of policing and security matters from a North-South and east-west perspective in the event of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU without a negotiated settlement. [4390/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I want to assure the Deputy at the outset that it is the firm intention of the Government and the British Government that there will be no diminution in North-South security co-operation in the context of the planned departure of the UK from the EU.  While it is the case that Britain will no longer be part of many EU-wide police information systems, as the Deputy will be aware, national security is outside the competence of the EU so on-going day to day cooperation, which is at historically high levels, will continue following Brexit. 

Notwithstanding this, considerable planning and preparation across the policing and criminal justice areas has been going on to take account of the potential impacts of Brexit.

Tackling the dissident threat on this island, which we saw manifested in Derry recently, is a shared priority for both Governments.  Those who seek to attack peace on this island should be very clear that, Brexit or not, the Gardaí will continue their work, hand-in-hand with the PSNI, to combat the paramilitary gangs and their close criminal associates.  That will not change.

The Deputy will be aware that the scheme for a Bill published last week includes specific provisions aimed at addressing essential issues relating directly to security and policing co-operation, including proposals to ensure effective extradition arrangements between Ireland and the UK.  This will be necessary because of Britain's departure from the European Arrest Warrant system.  The Bill also contains proposals to ensure information-sharing in the context of maintaining the effective operation of the Common Travel Area between this State and the UK.

There remains a measure of uncertainty, as this House knows well, as to the exact course of events.  However, my Department is in ongoing contact with the Garda Authorities in terms of contingency planning.  I am assured that An Garda Síochána is preparing for Brexit with a wide-ranging focus to determine operational requirements and will continue to progress their contingency preparations in line with Government policy.