Flanagan urges UK to maintain extradition arrangements post-Brexit

Minister stresses importance of continuing co-operation between Garda and PSNI

Minister for Justice  Charlie Flanagan: ‘I believe that it is important a strong bond of working together between the PSNI in Northern Ireland, outside of the EU, and the Garda Síochána here continues.’ File photograph: Garrett White/Collins

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan: ‘I believe that it is important a strong bond of working together between the PSNI in Northern Ireland, outside of the EU, and the Garda Síochána here continues.’ File photograph: Garrett White/Collins

 

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has expressed hope that Britain will maintain extradition arrangements with the European Union in the wake of Brexit next month in order to facilitate close co-operation in combating international crime.

Mr Flanagan said that he had been in Belfast last week for talks and he believed that the level of co-operation between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI was at a very high level and he hoped to see that continue post-Brexit, whatever type of deal is agreed between the EU and the UK.

“I was in Belfast on Monday. I believe that it is important a strong bond of working together between the PSNI in Northern Ireland, outside of the EU, and the Garda Síochána here continues. I would be concerned to ensure, for example, that we would continue to have a robust extradition process.”

“I would hope that Britain would continue to sign in, for example, to the very important and necessary European Arrest Warrant [system] – that we could ensure there is no delay in fighting crime on either side of the Border and, of course, east and west between Britain and Ireland.”

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Talking to Cork’s 96FM during a visit to west Cork at the weekend, Mr Flanagan said he was pleased that the Common Travel Area which has operated between the Republic and the UK since the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922 would continue.

“Of course, there are security concerns – I meet on a monthly basis with my colleagues at an EU level. I would be very keen after Brexit that there would be the closest possible relationship between the EU and the UK – particularly in the areas of criminal law, justice and security.”

“I met with my colleague the home secretary, Sajid Javid, earlier this week and I believe the urgency now is for the British government and the British parliament to finalise their ask on the Withdrawal Agreement.

“We had an agreement between the UK and the EU. My concern is that does appear to be unravelling. I would urge finality and certainty in that regard so that we can set about building the blocks for the future relationship.

“That is where I would hope ultimately there would be as close as possible a security relationship. We have had over the last number of years experienced a new dispensation in terms of the relationship between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI. I very much welcome that.”

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