Brexit will not stop PSNI and gardaí co-operating - Tánaiste
The Brexit vote will not undermine or diminish the close cooperation between the PSNI and gardaí, Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said.
Ms Fitzgerald pledged that neither paramilitary dissident groups nor criminals will be allowed to benefit from the outcome of the UK referendum last June.
"If the paramilitary groups who seek to thwart the wishes of the vast majority of the people on this island - paramilitary groups who parasitically feed off organised crime and fear - think they will somehow benefit from the outcome of the referendum, they can forget it," the minister told a cross-border seminar on organised crime yesterday.
"My message is simple. We will stop you. And we will defeat you."
Ms Fitzgerald said the Common Travel Area was key to the close relationships on the island and with Britain.
"The Common Travel Area is a central support to the close relationships on this island and, indeed, with Britain, with long-established and clear benefits that are enjoyed by communities on both sides of the border and beyond," said Ms Fitzgerald.
"I believe that it is an arrangement that is valued equally, North and South.
"It will be a priority for both administrations to retain its benefits in the years to come in the context of a new relationship between the EU and the UK."
Improved security on the island has been due to the close cooperation between the PSNI and gardaí, she added.
"There will be those who seek to exploit the advantages of a Common Travel Area," she said.
"The challenges in policing cross-border multi-jurisdictional criminal activities are acknowledged in the [cross-border crime threat] Assessment," the Tánaiste told the gathering in Enniskillen.
"But I want to be explicitly clear on one thing here today. We will not allow criminals or paramilitaries to benefit from Brexit."
Ms Fitzgerald said maintaining public safety and fighting organised crime is critically important.
She said the organised crime threat seen in Dublin in recent times was "unprecedented".
"The international impact of this activity has brought into sharp focus the real value of the international communities and of the partnerships that we develop across jurisdictions," she said.
She also noted the importance of cross-border cooperation in tackling rural crime.
Earlier yesterday, the administrations on both sides of the island launched the latest cross-border policing strategy.
It covers rural policing, community relations, intelligence sharing, and emergency planning.