Sunday 25 August 2019

Coalition to reject FF plan for new border crime agency

Stock picture
Stock picture
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The Government is to vote down a bill which Fianna Fáil claims will "confront paramilitary gangs" in the border region.

The Opposition party will present proposals to the Dáil that would establish a new agency to investigate and report on fuel smuggling and other criminal activities.

However, the Cabinet has agreed that it is "redundant" in the wake of an agreement between the British and Irish governments last week to set up a high-level taskforce to deal with organised crime in the border region.

The plan, which was part of the new agreement to get the Northern Executive back on track, involves a large number of agencies - including police forces, revenue services and criminal assets bureaus - from both sides of the border.

However, Fianna Fáil's spokesman on foreign affairs and border region development, Brendan Smith, told the Irish Independent that his bill "offers a comprehensive approach to tackling cross-border crime".

"It confronts paramilitary gangs and draws together environmental protection agencies in both jurisdictions to tackle the physical impact of fuel laundering on the water supply along the border region," he said.

"Our bill offers a chance to swiftly build on and implement the broad outline set out in the 'Fresh Start' agreement," he added.

Cross-border crime has been highlighted as a major problem by An Garda Síochána and the PSNI in recent months.

Last year, there were 1,109 detections of marked fuel oil and two oil laundries were detected - resulting in 50,340 litres of oil being seized.

Irish Independent

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