27 September 2017 

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, TD, today (Wednesday) addressed the fifteenth Annual Cross Border Seminar on Organised Crime at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dundalk. The conference brings together senior officers from An Garda Síochána, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the National Crime Agency, the Revenue Commissioners, HM Revenue and Customs, and Government Departments from both jurisdictions. 

Minister Flanagan praised the ongoing cooperation between the two jurisdictions and the impact that such cooperation makes in tackling cross border organised crime. He stated: 

“North-South co-operation at the policy and operational levels in combating serious and organised crime must be a dynamic process having regard to the ease of movement within the Common Travel Area and the ever-evolving nature of the challenges that it continues to present to law enforcement authorities." 

Minister Flanagan welcomed the conference agenda which focused on issues including Emerging Crime Trends, Money Laundering, Mobile Organised Crime Groups, Excise Crime, and Drugs. 

Minister Flanagan said “We cannot allow the great gains made in the Peace Process, particularly as regards the "open border" to be exploited by people who, motivated by amoral greed, operate outside the laws and norms or society, and, far worse, damage the very fabric of society by activities that have the potential to wreak havoc in the everyday lives of our people, particularly in communities where economic and social disadvantage exists.” 

The Minister continued:  

“Throughout the discussions on Brexit, the Irish Government has made clear its unshakable commitment to protecting the hard-won benefits of the peace process. We have made it abundantly clear that we do not want to see a hard border on the island of Ireland. It is our hope that in considering its approach to its withdrawal from the EU and the nature of its future relationship, that the UK will choose paths that facilitate the closest possible relationship between the UK and the EU, not least in the vitally important areas of police and judicial cooperation. The value of that cooperation is of special relevance in a Cross Border context, and the Irish Government is ready to work to ensure that the necessary legislative, administrative and resource allocation arrangements are in place to maintain the very effective levels of cooperation currently enjoyed. It is essential that we continue to sustain the peace and prosperity built up over recent decades and I am confident that we can continue to work closely and effectively in relation to a range of criminal justice, policing and security matters.”  

Speaking at the conference, Nick Perry, Permanent Secretary of the Northern Ireland Department of Justice said: 

“This conference provides an essential space for law enforcement and Government from both sides of the border to strengthen our joint response to organised criminality. Our commitment and determination remains to find the most effective ways of working together to protect our communities and face new challenges together.” 

Minister Flanagan spoke at the launch of the Annual Conference, along with Mr. Nick Perry, Permanent Secretary, Department of Justice, Northern Ireland, (Acting) Garda Commissioner Donal O’Cualain and Chief Constable George Hamilton.  

ENDS 

Note to Editors: 

This is the fifteenth annual Cross Border Seminar on Organised Crime. The Seminar is organised jointly by the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Justice Northern Ireland.  

This annual conference brings together senior officers from An Garda Síochána, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the National Crime Agency, the Revenue Commissioners, HM Revenue and Customs, and Government Departments from both jurisdictions.  

The 2016 Seminar was held at the Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen.