Justice Minister: Garda numbers and resources ready for no-deal Brexit

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has insisted that sufficient garda numbers and resources are ready for a no-deal Brexit and any new policing demands for the border area.

Justice Minister: Garda numbers and resources ready for no-deal Brexit

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has insisted that sufficient garda numbers and resources are ready for a no-deal Brexit and any new policing demands for the border area.

His comments come with just three weeks to go until the March 29 Brexit deadline and amid concern that any disorderly Brexit could impact on the peace process.

At the attestation of over 200 new gardaí at the garda college in Templemore, Tipperary, Mr Flanagan said the force was prepared for Brexit.

He was asked about plans to deploy more gardai to the border region over Brexit.

“In terms of deployment, this is a matter entirely for the Garda Commissioner," he said. "I have discussed the issue of the border with him and continue to do so. It is important in the context of any border area. There are going to be challenges in terms of organised crime or smuggling. The border area between any states is always one challenge.

“I'm quite confident the gardai will deploy the appropriate and necessary resources that are deemed fit.”

He said Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was continuously reviewing the policing of the border areas. Any future assignments would be a decision for the commissioner, he added.

Mr Flanagan said the government “absolutely” had a plan to secure the border, adding: “The security of the state is my priority as Minister for Justice. Whether there is a hard Brexit or a soft Brexit, the government's plan is to protect people in the border area.”

But Mr Flanagan declined to comment on specific numbers that may be needed in the border area in the event Britain crashes out of the EU and the region becomes a frontier for the union.

His comments come after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week confirmed that increased numbers of armed gardai would be sent to border regions. But he denied this was linked to Brexit concerns. Mr Varadkar said this was to battle cross-border crime and burglaries.

This included proposals to send an armed unit to the Cavan region, he told the Dail. But he also told TDs: "I am happy to clarify that it would be happening, Brexit or no Brexit, due, unfortunately, to the level of crime people experience in Ireland, not least on foot of armed burglaries in rural areas on which we are determined to crack down, not only in Cavan, Donegal and Louth, but everywhere in the country.”

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