Written answers

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Northern Ireland

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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58. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has raised concerns with the British or Northern Ireland authorities in relation to security policing in certain areas (details supplied); the response he received to these concerns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56481/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy will be aware that we in Government engage regularly with the British Government, the NI Executive and other key stakeholders to discuss a wide range of issues relating to Northern Ireland, including security matters. In addition to these engagements, officials on the ground in Northern Ireland and in Dublin work with community leaders on issues such as community confidence in policing.

It is deeply regrettable that, 23 years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, dissident republican and loyalist paramilitary groups continue to pose a threat and impact negatively on their own communities.

I am aware that the attitudes and perceptions within the communities can act as a barrier to confidence in policing and that security led operations can have a negative impact in certain locations. These points have been discussed between my officials and the relevant authorities in Northern Ireland, including with the PSNI and the Policing Board.

This month marks 20 years of the PSNI and this occasion has provided the opportunity for a range of reflections from communities, academics and justice practitioners. My officials have participated in a number of events and have noted a number of perspectives from loyalist and republican areas, including from those mentioned by the Deputy.

It is intended that the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference will be convened in the coming weeks and this will be a further opportunity for a discussion on security cooperation between the two Governments, as represented by myself and the Minister for Justice on our part and the NI Secretary of State on behalf of the British Government.

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