Tuesday, 8 April 2003
Garda Síochána (Police Co-Operation) Bill 2003: Second Stage.
Jim Walsh (Fianna Fail)
Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire go dtí an Teach agus fáilte roimh an Bhille freisin. Notwithstanding some reservations I might have in regard to it, I welcome the Bill. It is a progressive step which will be endorsed by the House.
While the Good Friday Agreement gave rise to a number of North-South initiatives, particularly in regard to the North-South bodies, these were diluted in the last throes of the negotiations. While progress has been made on a number of fronts, many of us would like to have seen much more of an impact as a consequence of the setting up of the North-South bodies. In this context, the particular relationship between the PSNI and the Garda is a positive step in that direction, even though its genesis might be more in the Patten report rather than the Good Friday Agreement. As the Minister outlined, co-operation between the Garda and the PSNI is essential because criminals do not recognise borders. Whether they are involved in organised crime, drug smuggling or whatever, close co-operation and communication between the police forces on a cross-Border basis are essential if we are to have modern, effective policing methods.