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NEWS: EU crime gangs may move operations to Ireland due to non-membership of EPPO

A TOP MEP has warned that Ireland’s non-membership of the European Public Prosecutors Office makes the country vulnerable to organised crime.

Billy Kelleher has said that Irish police (An Garda Siochana) and other state agencies need to be alert to the possibility of European crime gangs moving their operations to Ireland because the country hasn’t signed up to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) system.

Kelleher was commenting after the EPPO’s Chief Prosecutor delivered remarks at a joint meeting of the European Parliament’s Justice and Budget committees this morning in Brussels.

“The Chief Prosecutor said that ‘we hear through our wiretapping that criminals are contemplating moving their activities to some non-participating Member States because they are not part of the EPPO.’

“Ireland and Denmark have opt outs from joining the EPPO while Hungary, Poland and Sweden have made the decision not to join.  

This should be concerning to our law enforcement agencies. Ireland isn’t a member of the EPPO primarily due to our use of Common Law in our legal system whereby the vast majority of other Member States use Civil Law..

“While we aren’t members of the EPPO, we can and must do more to ensure no European crime gang sees Ireland as a soft touch when it comes to organised crime.

“The Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau need to be alert to this possibility. The Garda Commissioner must be ready to beef up resources and the Minister for Justice needs to direct as much cooperation as possible with the EPPO despite our differing legal systems and frameworks.

“Ireland must not be the weak link in the EU’s fight against organised crime,” concluded Kelleher.

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