328. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the measures in place to refuse the right of citizens of other EU member states and beyond with serious criminal records from travelling into and remaining here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2551/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Deputy will be aware that under the provisions of various EU legal instruments nationals of the EU Member States and the European Economic Area enjoy freedom of movement rights within the general area of the Union. Freedom of movement is subject to limitations and conditions and a Member State may refuse an EU national the right of entry or residence on the grounds of public policy, public security or public health. Measures affecting freedom of movement and residence must be based on the personal conduct of the individual concerned, and such conduct must represent a sufficiently serious and present threat to fundamental interests of the state.
Persons not entitled to EU freedom of movement rights are subject to separate legislation provisions regarding entry to and residence in the State. In particular, section 4 of the Immigration Act 2004 provides that an immigration officer may refuse to give permission to enter the State to a non-national under certain circumstances, including where the non-national has been convicted of an offence that may be punished under the law of the place of conviction by imprisonment for a period of one year or by a more severe penalty. A non-national may also be refused permission to land or be in the State, if an immigration officer has reason to believe that the non-national’s entry into, or presence in the State, could pose a threat to national security or be contrary to public policy and also where there is reason to believe that a non-national intends to enter the State for purposes other than that expressed by him/her.
As well as the legal requirement that non-nationals seek permission to enter the State on arrival at approved ports of entry, as part of the visa application process for visa required nationals additional checks are carried out as required with An Garda Síochána and other countries' immigration and police authorities. Checks are also carried out with the UK authorities in the context of maintaining the integrity of the Common Travel Area. Visa required nationals must also declare in their visa application if they have any criminal convictions in any country.
Furthermore, where any person who is not a citizen of Ireland or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, who is resident in the State, is known or suspected to have engaged in criminal activity, An Garda Síochána may provide relevant information to the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service (INIS) for the purpose of consideration being given to initiating a process for the purpose of arranging for their removal from the State pursuant to section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 or, if the person is an EU national, pursuant to Regulation 20 of the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2006.
It is also the case that any person residing in or visiting the State who is alleged to have committed a criminal offence in the jurisdiction will be made amenable to and subject to the laws of the State.