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Ireland to examine updating terror laws following UN resolution on foreign fighters

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said Europeans joining Islamist State group is a ‘serious problem’.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

Updated 15.00pm

IRELAND IS TO examine the recent UN Security Council Resolution on foreign terrorist fighters to see whether Irish terrorist laws needs to be updated.

Earlier this week, The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution requiring all countries to prevent the recruitment and transport of would-be foreign fighters preparing to join terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State group. Ireland co-sponsored the Resolution with 103 other countries, including all the EU Member States.

European fighters

Speaking in New York, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan Europeans going to fight with IS fighters in Syria and Iraq “is a growing and serious problem”.

Flanagan said that people are becoming “involved in activities of a terrorist nature”.

When asked by TheJournal.ie whether Ireland’s terrorism laws would need to be amended the Department of Justice said that Ireland’s terrorism laws are “very comprehensive”.

Just last month they published The Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2014, which when enacted, will create three new offences: public provocation to commit a terrorist offence, recruitment for terrorism and training for terrorism.  

Persons convicted of these offences may be subject to up to 10 years imprisonment. 

Terror laws

The Bill complements existing 2005 legislation which already provides for the offences of hostage taking, terrorist bombing and terrorist financing. 

The statement added:

With the new Bill Ireland will have very comprehensive legislation in this area. The UN Security Council Resolution on Foreign Terrorist Fighters will, however, be examined to see whether anything more might be necessary in terms of legislation.

Ireland’s overall approach to counter-terrorism combines community initiatives, criminal justice provisions, and the promotion of the rule of law and the protection of, and full respect for, human rights. 

Western passports

US officials say they are concerned that foreigners with Western passports could return to their home countries to carry out attacks. And even as US President Barack Obama welcomed support for the resolution to deter foreign fighters, he said more must be done.

The EU’s anti-terrorism chief, Gilles de Kerchove told the BBC that the number of Europeans joining Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq has risen to more than 3,000.

A statement to TheJournal.ie from the Department of Foreign Affairs said:

The UN Security Council Resolution takes a comprehensive approach to tackling the foreign fighters problem in accordance with international human rights and international law. It highlights the need to tackle the underlying causes of radicalisation through community outreach, while at the same time focusing on strengthening legal and security measures. This comprehensive strategy is very much in line with Ireland’s approach to the issue.

Flanagan said that the only way to prevent this happening is through education and information sharing. He added that criminal sanctions are also necessary.

“What we are discussing here in New York is that we have to have a  full international approach, an exchange of information to ensure that the unacceptable nature of what is happening is brought home to young people” who may engage in these activities, he said.

First published 09.10pm

Additional reporting Associated Press 

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