The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter, T.D., today announced the publication of a Europol Bill 2012.

The primary purpose of the Bill is to implement into Irish law the EU Council Decision of 6 April 2009 establishing the European Police Office (Europol). That Decision repeals and replaces the Europol Convention and Protocols thereto which had been given force of law in the State by the Europol Act 1997 as amended. While incorporating the provisions of the Convention and its Protocols, the Council Decision also introduces some new features to Europol.

These new features include an extension to Europol’s mandate. Organised crime was originally the sole focus of Europol’s activities. The Council Decision removes the requirement that an organised criminal structure must be involved before Europol can act. It will be sufficient for the crime concerned to involve a serious offence affecting two or more Member States as to require a common approach by those States. The offences for which Europol is competent are listed in the Annex to the Council Decision and include drug trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, murder and kidnapping.

Europol’s activities can be broadly categorised as information management on the one hand and semi-operational tasks on the other. Europol interacts with member states through national units which each state must establish. The national unit in Ireland is a unit within the Garda Síochána.

26 July 2012