The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D., and the Minster of Justice, David Ford MLA today (Tuesday 30th September) attended the thirteenth Annual Cross Border Seminar on Organised Crime at the Clarion Hotel in Sligo.
Ministers Fitzgerald and Ford were speaking at the launch of the Annual Seminar.
The Ministers in their opening remarks welcomed the ongoing co-operation between Departments and agencies from both jurisdictions and the immeasurable contribution that such co-operation makes in tackling criminality.
Minister Fitzgerald said: “Each year, this event plays a significant part in enhancing the response to cross border organised crime. The Seminar brings together key personnel from the Departments and agencies in both jurisdictions. It provides a forum through which cross border organised crime threats can be met through the promotion and deployment of effective and efficient cooperation initiatives to better meet the challenges that we face on a daily basis”.
The Minister went on to say that “In reinforcing our strategic partnerships to target cross border organised crime we are working better to protect our citizens and uphold the rule of law in this challenging environment.”
The Minister also said “This year’s Seminar is timely given the understandable public concern about the well-established links between organised crime and paramilitarism, One message will be clear from the Seminar: organised crime, whatever the background of those who commit it and whatever its manifestations, will continue to be tackled head on”
Minister of Justice for Northern Ireland David Ford said: “Organised Crime remains a major challenge to law enforcement agencies, and indeed Governments, north and south of the border. This annual conference is an opportunity to recognise the successes and to focus on current and future challenges. It comes at a time when the Stormont Talks give politicians an opportunity to see what they can do to help develop a culture of lawfulness and respect for the rule of law. That can only help all those involved in law enforcement.”
Continuing, Minister Ford said: “One of the elements at the talks is paramilitary involvement in organised crime. As Justice Minister and Chair of the Organised Crime Taskforce in the north I can assure the public that we are committed to bringing all those involved in such crimes before the courts. The possibilities for this will be discussed today as will work on a revised, refreshed Cross Border Policing Strategy. It will build on the working relationships already in place to help us tackle all forms of cross border crime.”
Concluding, he said: “There has been considerable progress throughout the year but we all recognise that there is still more to do. We need to continue our work and get the message across about the dangers of organised crime. These criminals are profiting because of public demand for their goods and services. I would urge everyone to think about the impact these groups have on our society, to reject what they offer and report what they know.”
Note to Editors:
This is the thirteenth annual Cross Border Seminar on Organised Crime. The Seminar is organised jointly by the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Justice Northern Ireland. The conference brings together senior officers from An Garda Síochána, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the National Crime Agency, the Revenue Commissioners, HM Revenue and Customs, and Government Departments from both jurisdictions.
Delegates attended presentations and workshops relating to organised crime activity including the illegal production of counterfeit goods, emerging technologies, foreign national organised crime gangs and the new fuel marker amongst other matters.
The 2014 Seminar was held at the La Mon Hotel, Belfast.