Setting up of cross-Border crime task force welcomed

Stormont’s A Fresh Start agreement must not be another false start, says Fianna Fáil

“Following recent violence and reports on the activity of paramilitary groups, Fianna Fáil called for the reintroduction of a paramilitary monitoring commission and the establishment of a properly resourced cross-Border agency to deal with organised crime. Both of these suggestions have been accepted and we welcome this,” said Brendan Smith, Fianna Fáil spokesman on Border Region Development. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

“Following recent violence and reports on the activity of paramilitary groups, Fianna Fáil called for the reintroduction of a paramilitary monitoring commission and the establishment of a properly resourced cross-Border agency to deal with organised crime. Both of these suggestions have been accepted and we welcome this,” said Brendan Smith, Fianna Fáil spokesman on Border Region Development. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

The creation of a cross-Border crime task force as part of the latest Northern Ireland agreement has been widely welcomed.

Fianna Fáil spokesman on Border Region Development, Brendan Smith, welcomed the reinstatement of a paramilitary monitoring commission and the creation of a cross-Border task force.

However, he warned that the latest agreement, entitled A Fresh Start, must not be another false start.

“Following recent violence and reports on the activity of paramilitary groups, Fianna Fáil called for the reintroduction of a paramilitary monitoring commission and the establishment of a properly resourced cross-Border agency to deal with organised crime.

‘We welcome this’

“Both of these suggestions have been accepted and we welcome this,” said Mr Smith.

The establishment of the cross-Border crime task force was also welcomed by Government chief whip in the Seanad Paul Coghlan, who chaired a committee of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly which proposed the measure earlier this year.

“A cross-Border task force made up of An Garda Síochána, the PSNI, Revenue, Customs, the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Environmental Protection Agency is I believe the only way to tackle cross-Border crime, which is costing governments on both sides of the Border millions each year,” said Mr Coghlan.

He added that fuel-laundering and cigarette-smuggling were particular problems in the south Armagh Border region.

“I am sure that this new joint agency task force will further enhance the very excellent relationships and lines of communication which exist between them.

“Criminals operating their own fiefdoms can no longer be accepted.

“This behaviour cannot be tolerated in a democratic society,” said Mr Coghlan.