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Justice Ministers and Police Chiefs meet in Dublin following publication of Smithwick Tribunal of Inquiry Report


The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD and the Northern Ireland Minister of Justice, David Ford MLA, met today in Dublin, accompanied by the Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan and the PSNI Chief Constable, Matt Baggott, and officials.


The two police chiefs briefed the Ministers on the current security situation and on ongoing co-operation between the two police services across the range of policing activity. The meeting also allowed the Ministers and the two police chiefs to have an exchange of views on the recently published report of the Smithwick Tribunal of Inquiry.


Both Ministers expressed their outright condemnation of those who had set off a bomb in Belfast city centre on Friday night, endangering people out shopping and socialising and members of the police service.


Speaking afterwards, Minister Shatter said: “Minister Ford and I have had a very useful meeting. I want to thank Commissioner Callinan and Chief Constable Baggott for joining us today.


“Nobody should be in any doubt about the real and persistent threat from terrorism on this island. The criminal thugs who set off a bomb in Belfast last Friday night are proof, if it was needed, that there are groups and individuals who simply have no concern for the lives or safety of the public and who want to drag this island back to the past.


“It is clear that there is very close and productive co-operation between the Garda Síochána and the PSNI, not just in countering the threat from paramilitaries but also in addressing organised and local crime.


“We also had a useful discussion on the recommendations of the Smithwick Tribunal and on the work that will be done to take them forward.”


Speaking after the meeting Justice Minister David Ford MLA said; “This meeting provided the opportunity to reinforce our working relationships in the light of the report of the Smithwick Tribunal. I had already met with Minister Shatter to discuss the findings and we are agreed that there should not be a loss of trust between our organisations.


“Good co-operation between the two justice departments and police services has shown successes in dealing with the terrorist threat and with organised criminal gangs. For the security of communities on both sides of the border I am determined that we can and will build on the many areas where co-operation is already a daily fact of life.
“I also updated Minister Shatter on the bomb attack in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter last Friday and on Monday night’s fire bomb attack, both of which were carried out by ruthless people who are clearly out to kill and injure. They have nothing to offer the community and their actions reinforce the need for continued support for the police service.”


The Ministers concluded the meeting by reiterating their continued support for the joint operational efforts of the Garda Síochána and the PSNI in combating terrorism and organised crime, and in working to enhance community safety for all communities on the island.


17 December 2013