Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has introduced a new Bill to place a Cross Border Crime Agency on a legislative basis. The new agency will have powers to monitor and investigate organised cross border criminal activity in such areas as illicit trade, fuel smuggling and human trafficking.
The Bill has been introduced by Deputy Brendan Smith at First Stage in Dáil Éireann.
Deputy Smith explained, “The border area needs a focused agency to stamp out crime. Over recent years there have been despicable attacks on persons and property and more recently we have witnessed deplorable human trafficking which shows that cross border criminality is escalating.
“The Cross Border Organised Crime: Threat Assessment 2018, produced jointly by the PSNI and An Garda Síochána shows the scale and changing nature of cross border crime. Brexit represents a new challenge to the border and the distinct security threats in the area. We need a fresh focus on tackling cross border criminality.
“The Bill would strengthen, expand and formalise the existing cross border crime task force which does not have a set staff or legislative powers. The new agency would be composed of officers from police forces both North and South, Revenue, Criminal Assets Bureau, Environmental Protection Agency and their Northern counterparts. It would be headed by a Director General and have a dedicated support staff.
“The current taskforce needs to be bulked up with clear powers and dedicated staff. Currently it is organised on an ad hoc basis with no full-time staff. Only two reports on the work of the Agency have been issued due to the collapse of Stormont in January 2017.This simply isn’t good enough.
“This Fianna Fáil Bill will help ensure we have the tools in place to tackle the changing nature of the criminal threat in the border area including systematic intimidation, human trafficking and illicit trade in tobacco and other products,” concluded Deputy Smith.