Minister calls for greater co-operation between the police, revenue and social security

Tuesday 4th November 2014

Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minster for Justice and Equality, today addressed the Ministerial meeting of the General Assembly of Interpol in Monaco. The assembly marked the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Interpol.

The Minister called on delegates to the Assembly to work towards "the greatest possible level of co-operation between the police, revenue and social security agencies of each state at national and international level. Our experience with the Criminal Assets Bureau shows that when these agencies work together, those engaged in criminal activity can be properly tackled and brought to justice."

Speaking at the conference under the theme of “collectively combating transnational crime” the Minister welcomed international police cooperation to tackle "criminal activities such as the exploitation of women and children, human trafficking and drug smuggling."

The Minister said that "Ireland is not immune from these criminal activities. Our proximity to mainland Europe coupled with our exposure to the Atlantic seaboard provide possibilities which global criminal elements seek to maximise to their own selfish advantage and to the disadvantage of many others. "

Minister Fitzgerald spoke of the recent seizure in September of almost €80m worth of cocaine off the south west coast of Ireland. The Minister noted that "this is one of the many significant drugs seizures that have been made in Irish waters in recent years" and that effective international policing cooperation was "a significant factor in these successful multi-agency operations."

The Minister congratulated INTERPOL and all its staff and seconded officers on their success in developing the links that help to combat transnational criminal activity. Minister Fitzgerald acknowledged the contribution to Interpol of Detective Sergeant Michael Moran who is Ireland’s seconded officer with Interpol and who is now Assistant Director, Human Trafficking & Child Exploitation Division at Interpol.

Minister Fitzgerald went on to note that constant change is necessary in the fight against crime and highlighted the reforms that are underway in Ireland in this regard.

"As Ireland's Minister for Justice, working with the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána, our national police service, I am leading a comprehensive programme of change. Not change for the sake of change. But change with a deliberate objective of strengthening the openness, accountability and oversight of policing in Ireland.

- We are establishing a new independent Policing Authority to bring a further layer of public accountability to the administration of policing services.
- We have opened up recruitment for the post of Commissioner, head of our police service, to open, international competition.
- We are strengthening the capacity of the independent Ombudsman Commission to investigate complaints against the police and we have improved protections for whistleblowers.

The Minister concluded: In summary, we are introducing reform to ensure both the public and the officers of our police can have full confidence in the administration and oversight of policing, and know that is it a service ready to meet the challenges of 21st century policing.