May 18th

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald attended a meeting in Brussels today to agree EU priorities in fighting organised crime. These include the fight against cybercrime, drugs, organised thefts and burglaries and money-laundering. Speaking on the agreed priorities the Tánaiste said “the recent global cyber-attack once again highlights the need to keep our focus on disrupting the capacity of criminals to use our information systems for their illicit gain. The importance of tackling cybercrime is growing and it is right that as a Union we face this challenge head on and in a proactive way. We have also agreed that fighting the drug gangs across the EU should be a priority and that we should work to dismantle the production, trafficking and distribution of all types of illegal drugs. Underpinning all of this is the need to disrupt the means available to criminal gangs to move and launder the money they get from their illegal activities. Agreeing today to include as a priority tackling money laundering sends a strong message to criminals that we will work relentlessly to prevent them from being able to benefit from their illegal gains.”

Ministers also discussed further potential solutions for reshaping the Common European Asylum System to enable it to react to any future rise in the number of migrants entering the EU. Commenting on the discussions the Tánaiste highlighted the importance of building a system that can respond to and support a Member State facing disproportionate pressure. She said that “a member state which finds itself under pressure due to an influx of migrants requires an individualised and tailored response as the needs of Member States are not always the same. We have to build a system that can respond to the needs of the particular member state, whatever they may be. We need a flexible, robust and fair system that is sustainable and works to the benefit of those in need of protection.”

The Tánaiste also commented on the importance of sustaining the EU’s programme of humanitarian assistance and co-operation with third countries as an important element of the longer-term management of migration flows. Ireland has contributed €3 million to the EU trust fund for Africa which plays an important role in supporting the improvement of the economic and political stability of third countries of origin and transit.