21st December, 2015
Minister Frances Fitzgerald, T.D. and the Northern Ireland Minister of Justice, David Ford, MLA, met in Dublin today.
The Ministers met to discuss ongoing North-South co-operation across the range of criminal justice matters under the Intergovernmental Agreement on Co-operation on Criminal Justice Matters.
Minister Fitzgerald expressed her support for the close working relationship between all aspects of the criminal justice systems North and South: “The continued improvement of North-South co-operation in policing and criminal justice remains a priority. There is a high degree of productive co-operation at all levels between our criminal justice systems. We face the same challenges in both parts of the island in combating crime, managing offenders and supporting victims, and it makes sense for us to co-operate in coming up with solutions to deal with them. I look forward to this positive working relationship continuing as we seek to make the island of Ireland safer for all communities”.
Minister Ford said : “I am delighted that co-operation by policing and criminal justice agencies across the Irish border remains good at all levels. I will continue to support and develop opportunities for further co-operation to ensure the best use of expertise and resources in both jurisdictions. This is the best way to ensure the maximum protection and safety for everyone north and south”.
After their bilateral, the Ministers will participate in a trilateral meeting together with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the First and deputy First Ministers of Northern Ireland and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. This meeting will focus on the elements of the Fresh Start Agreement dealing with cross-border organised crime including the establishment of a Joint Agency Task Force.
Note to Editors:
1. The Intergovernmental Agreement on Co-operation on Criminal Justice Matters provides a framework for increasing and enhancing co-operation on criminal justice matters. Within the framework of the Agreement, the two Ministers oversee co-operation across the range of areas in the criminal justice field.
2. The development and enhancement of co-operation under the Agreement is taken forward by a number of Project Advisory Groups covering the areas of public protection, forensic science, youth justice, victims’ issues and criminal justice and social diversity issues.