23 November 2011

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter T.D. and the Minister of Justice, Mr. David Ford MLA today attended the Annual Cross Border Seminar on Organised Crime, reaffirming their commitment to enhanced cross border cooperation in the fight against organised crime, North and South.

Ministers Shatter and Ford were speaking at the launch of the ninth Annual Cross Border Organised Crime Seminar in Gormanston, Co. Meath. They were joined by An Garda Síochána Commissioner Martin Callinan and PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott for the launch of the seminar.

The Ministers in their opening remarks welcomed the ongoing cooperation between the law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border and the invaluable contribution that such cooperation makes in tackling organised crime.

Speaking at the conference Minister Shatter said "This joint initiative ensures that cross border cooperation and partnership continues to be central to the law enforcement response to organised criminality across the border. The law enforcement agencies represented at the Seminar all face a common challenge in tackling criminal gangs. In building strategic partnerships to target cross border organised criminality we are strengthening our responses and working better to keep our communities safe from harm."

Minister Shatter added that "Organised crime gangs continue to exploit borders for criminal gain. The strong cooperation that exists between our law enforcement agencies ensures that we tackle these gangs through a coordinated and effective response  - disrupting their criminal activities, targeting those involved and seizing property. Tackling cross border criminality sends a clear message to criminals that they will find no safe haven on either side of the border."

Minister Shatter also referred to the work being carried out through cross border cooperation initiatives such as the Cross Border Fuel Fraud Group. "The work of this Group has resulted in a number of groups, involved in the laundering and distribution of illegal fuels,  and who operate in both jurisdictions,  being identified. These groups are now being specifically targeted for investigation by all the law enforcement agencies concerned. In addition, current operations including ‘Operation Jutty’ and ‘Operation Crypt II’ have given rise to a number of search operations being conducted simultaneously by law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border."

David Ford said: "This conference is an example of the level of trust and cooperation that exists between our respective Departments and agencies to tackle the organised criminals who exploit the border.    Whether the commodity is drugs, laundered fuel, fake goods or, perhaps worst of all, human beings, we have a robust network of cross-border partnerships that are facing the challenge."

He said: "Recent multi-agency successes against cross-border organised crime have been made possible by the combined efforts, on both sides of the border, to share information, align strategies and co-ordinate operations.  Working in partnership at an operational level has delivered results on the ground.  I congratulate all those involved in tackling organised crime across the border and I will continue to work with the Irish Government to make sure that organised crime gangs are disrupted, dismantled and brought to justice."


Note to Editors:

This is the ninth Cross Border Seminar on Organised Crime which has been organised jointly by the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Justice (Northern Ireland). It brings together senior officers from An Garda Síochána, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Revenue Commissioners, HMRC and Government departments from both jurisdictions.

The Seminar will include presentations/workshops concerning a range of issues including drugs, cross border fraud, firearms and crime trends.

In 2010 the Seminar was held in Castlereagh, Co. Antrim.