Collapse of devolution rules out proposed cross-border crime agency

A new cross-border crime agency is not “practicably possible” due to the collapse of devolution in Northern Ireland, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said.

The idea of a new agency has been repeatedly raised in discussions about the abduction and torture of businessman Kevin Lunney by a cross-border gang.

Fianna Fáil has announced plans to bring forward legislation to establish a new agency composed of PSNI officers and gardaí, as well as representatives from Revenue, the CAB, EPA and their northern equivalents.

However, Mr Flanagan said last night that a new agency could not be created “unilaterally”, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

He said: “There isn’t an Executive or an Assembly north of the border that can process the legislation. So while the intentions are positive, it is not practicably possible.”

In a statement, the minister stressed that the PSNI and An Garda Síochána “are working together at historically close levels to prevent and investigate cross-border crime and the fruits of that cooperation were evident this week in a series of major searches”.

He added: “Nobody is above the law anywhere on the island and the new Joint Investigation Team agreement signed this week formalises the necessary policing cooperation and leaves no hiding place for criminals operating in the border area - they will be relentlessly pursued in both jurisdictions.”

Tags: Policing

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