Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Ceisteanna - Questions

International Terrorism

2:05 pm

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Mayo, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Over the past 18 months, there have been horrific terrorist attacks both within and outside the European Union. Even this week we have witnessed the tragic events in Orlando and the murder of a French policeman and his partner. Tackling such terrorism, and the radicalisation which fuels it, is a challenge to which the EU attaches the very highest priority.

Ireland has consistently called for a comprehensive and co-ordinated international response which addresses both the immediate effects of terrorism and its root causes. The commitment in the programme for Government to supporting the EU and UN efforts, and to working with third countries to stop the advance of brutal terrorists, comes in this context.

Decisions at the European Council in February of last year, after the January Paris killings, focused on three separate but overlapping areas of activity, namely, steps to ensure the security of citizens, including better information sharing between member states; measures to prevent radicalisation and safeguard European values, with a focus on Internet-based activity; and deepening co-operation with international partners, especially in the southern neighbourhood. This is the broad agenda on which all the EU institutions continue to work.

Following the attacks in Paris last November, the European Council reaffirmed the need to implement measures across all three strands. Developments since then include agreement on the passenger name record directive, substantial progress on Commission proposals on new directives for combating terrorism and the illegal firearms trade and agreement on an action plan against the financing of terrorism. It is all too clear however that work on all relevant issues needs to be intensified.

With regard to radicalisation and terrorism outside the EU's borders, engagement has been stepped up with partners in North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey and beyond. The High Representative of the Union, Federica Mogherini, has confirmed that a comprehensive package of assistance provided to the Tunisian Government in 2015 to help tackle terrorism will be replicated in other countries this year. Meanwhile, EU counter-terrorism experts have been posted to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia while a comprehensive counter-terrorism plan has been developed with Turkey under the European Neighbourhood Instrument programme.

Of course, much current terrorist activity has to be seen within the context of the tragic and hugely destabilising Syrian crisis. We support all diplomatic efforts to bring peace to Syria and to counter the barbaric ideology and actions of ISIS.

The EU's efforts in the areas of counter-radicalisation and counter-terrorism are underpinned by the UN Security Council resolutions, which themselves make clear that any long-term solution to the challenge that terrorism poses must address its underlying causes.


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