Responding to today’s government commitment to the creation of a new Cross Border Agency to combat crime Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for the Border Region Brendan Smith TD stated that “It’s important this commitment is quickly backed up with real action. The Dáil is due to debate my bill on establishing such an Agency later this month. This presents Minister Flanagan with a chance to back up his statements and the negotiations currently underway in Stormont with real action. The government should support the Fianna Fáil cross border criminal agency bill when it comes before the Dáil on November 27th.”
Deputy Smith continued: “The PSNI/MI5 report on paramilitary activity painted a bleak picture of members of the Provisional IRA engaged in criminal activity. It also highlighted the criminality of other paramilitary organisations as well. The border region is bearing the brunt of that through illegal cigarette smuggling and fuel laundering. Furthermore the devastating environmental impact of these activities is a cost that families have to pay along the border. The tragic loss of two Gardai in the line of duty in the area over the past number of years bears testament to the serious nature of criminal elements active there. ”
“The bill put forward by Fianna Fáil proposes the establishment of a cross border agency that builds on the links that already exist. It will enable authorities on both sides of the border including environmental bodies to target and eliminate organised criminality. It is vital that Minister Flanagan’s commitment to such an agency as a core part of any agreement from the current talks is fully realised. The bill, due to be debated in the Dáil on November 27th after the conclusion of the talks, gives him an opportunity to do so. We need to root out paramiliatarism once and for all and free local communities in the border region from this scourge,” Deputy Smith concluded.