The Government has introduced legal provisions, including sharing of biometric data for travel visas, in preparation for a no-deal Brexit.
The measure is one of a number of “pressing” issues in the justice area that the Government and the Department of Justice are working on.
In a document, the Department of Justice said that on July 15 last Part 14 of the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequent Provisions) Act 2019 had been commenced.
This covers asylum related matters and the operation of the British Irish Visa Scheme, which is used for business or travel reasons.
Part 14 provides a legal basis for the taking of fingerprints for visa applications under the scheme and the sharing of biometric data between Britain and Ireland.
The British-Irish Visa Scheme allows for mutual recognition of short-stay visas between Britain and Ireland.
The document also said that on May 9 last the Common Travel Area Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Tánaiste Simon Coveney and the British Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster David Livington.
The CTA memorandum formalised a long-standing agreement between the two countries allowing Irish citizens to move freely to live, work and study in Britain on the same basis as British citizens and vice versa.
Other key issues concerning justice matters include the replacement of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) with an alternative system and the continuing sharing of information between police forces in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain.
Senior Department of Justice official, Jimmy Martin, told the Oireachtas Justice Committee last February that “one of the biggest asks” of Gardaí relates to communication and data exchange with British authorities, with an estimated 60,000-70,000 pieces of information exchanged on average every year.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said that contingency extradition arrangements under the act – using the 1957 Council of Europe Convention on Extradition – would provide a “workable solution”, but he accepted that it was “not as effective” as the EAW.
Concerns regarding an alternative for the EAW have been raised by police officers on both sides of the border, including Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.
Official figures show that Ireland sent 60 (out of a total of 76 EAW requests) to Britain in 2017, while Britain sent 207 requests to Ireland (out of a total of 357 requests received by Ireland).