104. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he will take in the Border region to address the impact of a hard border and the potential increase of criminal activity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32513/17]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): It has always been the case that Ireland and the United Kingdom cooperate closely on immigration and border matters, in particular as they relate to securing the Common Travel Area (CTA) and we will continue to cooperate, and to strengthen that cooperation, in the future. Both Governments have publicly declared their commitment to ensuring no return to a so-called 'hard border' on the island of Ireland. There are excellent relations at official and political level in relation to enhancing the operation of the Common Travel Area and we are committed to that continuing.
There is close and ongoing cooperation between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI on all aspects of policing, with a particular focus on combatting security threats and tackling cross-border crime. The Garda Commissioner and the Chief Constable of the PSNI, who are responsible for operational policing cooperation, have repeatedly emphasised the scope and the value of the close and high quality cooperation between the two police services which is instrumental in combating crime, protecting community safety and, indeed, saving lives. The two police services operate a joint Cross-Border Policing Strategy which has as its aims to improve public safety throughout Ireland, to disrupt criminal activity and to enhance the policing capability of both police services on the island.
It is the firm intention that in the context of the UK's departure from the European Union there will be no diminution in the level of co-operation in this regard, and every effort will continue to be made to achieve that outcome.