Monday 18 November 2019

New cross-border agency to tackle organised crime urged by Fianna Fáil

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Stock photo
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

A new cross-border agency would combat organised crime, intimidation, human trafficking and fuel smuggling under proposals by Fianna Fáil.

The party is to put forward legislation to create the agency in the wake of the threats on Quinn Industrial Holdings executives and the abduction and torture of Kevin Lunney.

Gardaí and the PSNI have set up a joint investigation team to address the attacks on QIH management.

Fianna Fáil has welcomed this but also wants the establishment of a dedicated agency to tackle lawlessness in the Border region.

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"The Border area needs a focused agency to stamp out crime," Cavan-Monaghan TD Brendan Smith said.

"Recent incidents such as attacks and threats on Quinn Industrial Holdings directors or the cross-border involvement in devastating human trafficking show that cross-border criminality is escalating," he added.

Individuals from the North have been charged in relation to the deaths of 39 migrants found in a refrigerated lorry container in Essex last month.

Mr Smith said his Bill - which he hopes to introduce in the Dáil next week - would "strengthen, expand and formalise" the existing cross-border crime task force, which does not have set staff or legislative powers.

The agency would include police from both sides of the Border as well as representatives of Revenue, the Criminal Assets Bureau and Environmental Protection Agency, and their northern equivalents. The director general of the agency would be appointed by the Government in consultation with the Northern Ireland Executive.

Earlier this week, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin suggested a multi-disciplinary joint agency involving gardaí and the PSNI should be set up to tackle lawlessness in the Border area.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he wouldn't rule it out but cautioned that it would take a long time to establish.

He said it would require legislation on both sides of the Border, which "may be impossible currently".

Irish Independent

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