Arrest warrant debate


AN INDEPENDENT TD has claimed changes in the application of European arrest warrant legislation “are most likely unconstitutional”, but the Minister for Justice has insisted the amendments are to ensure “we protect our people from those engaged in serious criminality”.

Waterford TD John Halligan (Ind) said the changes in the legislation “make our citizens and those who legally reside here amenable to the laws of our extradition partners, including Albania, Turkey and Zimbabwe”.

The European Arrest Warrant (Application to Third countries and Amendment) and Extradition (Amendment) Bill extends arrest warrants applicable across the EU to Iceland and Norway and will cover agreements that may be reached in the future with other countries outside the EU.

Mr Halligan said those countries would be able to seek extradition on the grounds that “the way in which the person conducts business in Ireland offends their criminal” or religious codes.

He said unless the changes were “surrounded by appropriate safeguards this outrageous and wholly disproportionate proposal will most likely be struck down as unconstitutional”.

Dismissing the claim, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter (FG) said the legislation facilitated the removal from this State “of individuals facing serious charges in other parts of Europe” in a proper court process under the “effective application of the European Convention on Human Rights”.

Warrants sent to Ireland, he said, included cases of murder, rape and the abuse of children.