Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Ceisteanna (102)

Maureen O'Sullivan


102. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will clarify his reply to Parliamentary Question Nos. 272 and 273 of 17 September 2019 (details supplied). [39002/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As I have previously informed the Deputy, 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.

Co-operation 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.

As such, I can confirm for the Deputy that should the UK leave the EU without a deal, the UK will as a consequence lose access to the European Arrest Warrant mechanism and will be treated as a third state for extradition purposes. However extradition would be possible between Ireland and the UK under the 1957 Council of Europe Convention on Extradition, as is the case for other third states.

EAW cases still active on the date of the departure of the UK from the EU would cease to have effect. As the Deputy will appreciate, what would happen in any particular case will depend on the individual circumstances of that case. However and in general, if an EAW request ceases to have effect, a new request under the Council of Europe Convention on Extradition would have to be issued before the matter could be considered further. I can assure the Deputy that this issue has been factored into contingency planning on these matters.