Tuesday, 8 April 2003
Garda Síochána (Police Co-Operation) Bill 2003: Second Stage.
Michael Smith (Minister, Department of Defence; Tipperary North, Fianna Fail)
As Minister for Defence I have the privilege to present this innovative legislation to the House which deals with police co-operation on this island. My colleague, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy McDowell, regrets he cannot be here for this debate. The House will be aware he is accompanying the Taoiseach on an important visit to Northern Ireland.
The introduction of the Bill is timely, having regard to the events now taking place in Northern Ireland. It is a key measure towards implementing the policing principles contained in the Good Friday Agreement. The Bill is a firm indication of the real progress made in relation to North-South co-operation on policing matters and is an important milestone in the implementation of the Patten report. It represents a step forward to a new age and creates a formalised link between the Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland which will bring benefits to both jurisdictions in the form of improved effectiveness in crime prevention and detection.