The head of Europol does not believe a border poll or the reunification of Ireland would spark a return of terrorism in the North.
Rob Wainwright, speaking at the MacGill Summer School, said: “The issue is entirely a political one, it’s for the governments of Ireland and the UK to deal with. Would there be a concern? I’m not sure, I think we have come a long way since the Troubles.
“The Ireland that we see today is very different to what we saw all those years ago. I hate to think that we would slip back into something like that, and I am rather optimistic that we wouldn’t, whatever the cause might be.”
However, he said Brexit does have “potential implications” for the sharing of intelligence on organised crime and terrorism. “In the last 20 years the EU has invested a lot of effort in building up very large-scale industrialised information- sharing regimes. The rest of Europe have basically thrown their eggs into that basket and it has created an architecture of information sharing that is enormous. The UK ironically has been a driver of much of that,” he said, adding the terms under which the UK leaves are “absolutely critical”.
“There is good reason to believe, maybe, that the UK will still participate, and that any legal or operational difficulties around a non-EU state doing that can be ironed out, but that’s all subject to the form the negotiation will take.”
Separately, the Assistant Garda Commissioner, John O’Mahony, said a conversation must be now had on arming the gardaí. “There is a decision to be made for our future by our community and by our population as a whole as to what sort of police force we need. Whether we need an armed police force of whether we traditionally retain the police force that we have where our uniformed force is largely unarmed.”
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