Brexit, terrorism and search for new Garda Commissioner all raised by local deputies
SHERLOCK questions Brexit negotiator on status of Irish people living in the UK
CORK East Labour Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the European Parliament’s Chief Brexit Negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, who made a presentation to Oireachtas members, about an article that was published in The ObserverIrish on July 9 last, in which he wrote very rationally about the UK position in relation to citizens’ rights.
“He referred particularly to third country nationals, the new status that will pertain in the UK, the need for separate applications for settled status and the five-year residence requirement,” said Deputy Sherlock. “How seriously is the European Parliament taking the UK’s negotiating position, which is grossly insulting to any Irish person living in the UK who has settled there for years and has an intergenerational relationship and which will set back the cause of Anglo- relations by years? I would like to know Mr. Verhofstadt’s opinion on that.”
In reply, Mr Verhofstadt said keeping the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement is a key element for the Parliament. “We cannot risk the possibility of Brexit creating a return to The Troubles that we saw in the past,” he said.
“That is a key element for this whole negotiation. I found that this point - the risk to the Good Friday Agreement posed by the Brexit discussion - was not touched on sufficiently during the whole debate before the referendum in Britain. I accept that this is in the past now. Ireland can count on the European Parliament to defend the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts. We will never allow whatever solution is reached to put that in danger. As the EU played an important role in the Good Friday Agreement, it is keen to defend its own work and its own achievements.”
SHERLOCK concerned at suspected financing of terrorism
CONCERN about a recent Europol report that shows Ireland as third highest in the European Union for reports that specifically relate to the suspected financing of terrorism, was raised in the Dáil with the Minister for Justice & Equality by Cork East Labour Deputy Seán Sherlock.
In a reply, Minister Flanagan said the very high level of reporting identified in the Europol report reflects the importance of the Irish financial services sector and the high volume of international transactions passing through it.
“While all such reports are followed up by an Garda Síochána, the overwhelming majority prove, on investigation, to have no links of concern,” he said. “In order to reinforce this investigative capacity, additional resources have also been allocated to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) within An Garda Síochána with the introduction of ‘goAML’ on June 12, 2017. goAML is an IT software solution specifically designed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for use by FIUs throughout the world, which ensures the filtering of Suspicious Transaction Reports to identify potential links to Terrorist Financing.”
“It should also be noted that An Garda Síochána have achieved a number of well publicised successes in recent months utilising security and operational intelligence to disrupt terrorist activities which serve to further demonstrate the effectiveness of on-going counter-terrorism and TF investigations,” the Minister added.
SINN Féin seeks consultation on appointment of new Garda Commissioner
FOLLOWING the resignation of the Garda Commissioner, Cork South Central Sinn Féin Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald if the Government, including the Minister for Justice and Equality, will consider meeting all Opposition parties regarding the process for the replacement of the Commissioner to ensure full political buy-in concerning that appointment.
In reply, the Tánaiste said responsibility for that recruitment lies with the Policing Authority and the Public Appointments Service.
Séan Sherlock TD (Lab).
Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD (SF).