Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Ceisteanna (272, 273)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

272. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the implications for Irish citizens currently the subject of a European arrest warrant to Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit (details supplied); the steps he has taken to address these matters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37209/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

273. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the interaction he has had with his European counterparts and the criminal justice agencies here regarding the way in which the human rights of Irish citizens under European arrest warrants to Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be protected in view of concerns expressed by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission regarding the implications of a no-deal Brexit with particular reference to the legal basis of an EAW in that scenario; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37210/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 272 and 273 together.

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.

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.