New agency to help spot terror threats in Ireland
A new multi-agency Passenger Information Unit aimed at spotting terrorist threats is expected to be approved by the Cabinet today.
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald will bring proposals for the body that will use passenger name records (PNR) for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime.
The move comes on foot of an EU directive and is likely to establish the unit, involving An Garda Síochána, Customs and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, by May 2018.
Sources told the Irish Independent the use of PNR data is "a proven tool in the fight against international crimes such as human trafficking, drug trafficking and international sex tourism and has also served as an invaluable support in combating international terrorism".
Air carriers will be obliged to provide member states' authorities with the PNR data for flights entering or departing from the EU.
The directive also provides an option, but not an obligation, for member states to collect PNR data concerning selected intra-EU flights.
Data exchanged between countries under the plan will initially be stored for six months after which personal identification data will be masked out and stored for another period of four-and-a-half years.