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Drew Harris 'won't speculate' on border posts but says region will get more gardaí and armed support

The Garda Commissioner says the force is “ready” for Brexit.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris at the Oireachtas Justice Committee today.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris at the Oireachtas Justice Committee today.
Image: Oireachtas.ie

GARDA COMMISSIONER DREW Harris says the force is “ready” for Brexit and are likely to have more gardaí in the border region but has refused to speculate on what border infrastructure will look like. 

Harris was briefing the Oireachtas Justice Committee this morning on reform within the gardaí and was asked about the potential impact of Brexit by a number of committee members. 

The commissioner said gardaí have plans in place to deal with the impact of Brexit and have been liaising with the Department of Justice on the “legal issues that will open up”.

“Obviously a lot of the EU treaties that would have dealt with organised crime issues will fall away, so things around tracing financial assets, for instance, because the UK is leaving those arrangements,” he said in response to questions from Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan. 

“Overall I would say that we are ready, we have been thinking about this for two years and building up resources in the border area,” he added.

The commissioner said An Garda Síochána has already supplemented border county divisions with more gardaí and will likely do so again when more gardaí pass out in November.

Harris added that it is hoped that gardaí will add an armed support unit in Cavan “to reduce response times in the border area”. 

“There’s been a big uplift in our capability and there’s more to come,” Harris said. 

We are in a high state of planning for October in what it’ll mean in the short-term and medium term for us and policing on the whole of Ireland.  

Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway also asked whether gardai were “expecting violence if there is a no-deal Brexit and we do see borders”.

“I’m not going to speculate on what the border infrastructure is going to be,” Harris responded. 

 

“I’m responsible for providing a policing service to protect society and to protect other agencies, we operate very much against the threat of both smuggling and other organised crime based on an intelligence-based response in focused operations and that’s where I would envisage this will further develop.”  

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Rónán Duffy

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