Brexit may hurt Ireland ‘more than any other EU state’ - Flanagan

Minister for Justice says UK must clarify position on security co-operation post-Brexit

Brexit had the potential to adversely affect Ireland “more than any other EU state” in terms of security, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said, because of the national threat from dissident republicanism. File photograph:  Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Brexit had the potential to adversely affect Ireland “more than any other EU state” in terms of security, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said, because of the national threat from dissident republicanism. File photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

 

The UK urgently needs to clarify its position on security co-operation post-Brexit, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said in Brussels on Thursday.

Brexit had the potential to adversely affect Ireland “more than any other EU state” in terms of security, he said, because of the national threat from dissident republicanism.

It is vital to maintain “positive engagement” between the two states on security issues such as the recognition and enforcement of European arrest warrants, he added. Any return to the old “political” extradition system between Ireland and the UK would be totally unacceptable.

“The time is now right for a degree of clarity from the UK we have not heard to date... The earlier we get clarification, the earlier we can respond,” he said.

The Minister said he had heard positive hints from the UK and hoped such clarification could be forthcoming from British prime minister Theresa May’s much-flagged speech in Florence next week.

Mr Flanagan was attending a meeting of EU justice and home affairs minsters, at which they heard reports of progress on enhanced security co-operation on issues such as data exchanges, terror watch lists and passenger name recognition.

Emerging obligations

He said investment in Garda technology would allow Ireland to meet its emerging obligations in this area.

He would be meeting British home secretary Amber Rudd on Brexit-related issues in the next few weeks and had bilateral discussions at the meeting yesterday with Home Office minister Brandon Lewis.

The Minister acknowledged the progress made in Brexit talks on the Common Travel Area. He accepted that affiliation to the EU’s Schengen passport-free travel area would be problematic for Ireland in maintaining the CTA.

It was not, anyway, something the Republic was or would be seeking.