Monday, 26 April 2021
EU Regulations (Europol): Motion
Ba mhaith liom fáilte ar ais a chur roimh an Aire Stáit go dtí an Teach seo tráthnóna. The Minister of State is very welcome back to the House this afternoon for this important debate. We in Fianna Fáil fully support Ireland's opt-in to the Europol regulation. The general objectives of this regulation, which the Minister of State outlined in his contribution, are to support and reinforce action by EU member states' law enforcement authorities and their mutual co-operation, preventing and combatting serious crime and terrorism affecting two or more member states. The EU Commission is of the view that due to the cross-border nature of serious crime and the need for a co-ordinated response to related security threats, member states cannot achieve their objectives by themselves and this support at Union level is absolutely vital. Europol needs to have the capabilities and the tools to support member states effectively in countering serious crime and terrorism.Europe faces a security landscape in flux with evolving and increasingly complex security threats. Criminals exploit the advantages that digital transformation, new technologies, globalisation and mobility bring about. The Covid-19 crisis has added to it as criminals have quickly seized opportunities to exploit it by adapting their modes of operation or developing new criminal activities. Since Europol was first established in 1991 as a central European investigation office in the fight against drugs, organised crime and corruption, it has done serious work on behalf of the citizens of Europe. The Garda can be very proud of the role it has played in that too. It is desirable that Ireland opts into this new protocol now so that we can have our say in shaping the final document. We need full co-operation between member states in our ongoing fight against crime of all sorts including drug trafficking, corruption, and the ever-increasing area of cybercrime. We look forward to it passing through the House.