In advance of the EU – US Meeting taking place in Dublin tomorrow, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter T.D, held important discussions with US Attorney General, Eric Holder. Topics discussed included security and surveillance issues, enhancing Irish-US cooperation in combating serious crime, data protection and Ireland’s EU Presidency.
Speaking after today’s meeting, Minister Shatter said “I am delighted to have this opportunity to meet with the US Attorney General Eric Holder today. Our meeting underlines the shared concerns of Ireland and the US in tackling issues of international crime, particularly serious and organised crime. We both agreed that we will continue to work to further enhance co-operation in the fight against crime.”
US Attorney General, Eric Holder, added “It was a pleasure to meet with Minister Shatter again, and to be able to congratulate him on the successes of the Irish Presidency. We are committed to working with the Minister and our other EU partners to continue to fight transnational crime and terrorism, while protecting the rights of citizens both in EU Member States and in the United States.”
Over the past six months, Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter T.D, had the privilege of chairing the EU Council on Justice and Home Affairs. During this time, he has delivered substantial progress on a wide range of important measures and has been a driving force in advancing many important policy initiatives.
Many of the priorities of the Irish Presidency in the justice area reflected the key issues facing Ireland, Europe and indeed the United States too, including economic recovery, growth and job creation. Minister Shatter and Attorney General Holder discussed the important area of Data Protection and Minister Shatter referenced the EU Data Protection Regulation which has been substantially delivered during the Irish Presidency.
Speaking today Minister Shatter said, “I raised with the Attorney General issues relating to the disclosure in recent day of the PRISM surveillance system and its accessing information. In fully recognising the legitimate security concerns of the US and action that is necessary to counter terrorism, I stated that there was concern in Ireland and Europe that the privacy of Irish citizens and European citizens is respected and emphasised the importance of ensuring that any intelligence gathering activities should be necessary and proportionate and that Irish citizens are treated no differently to US citizens. I stated that each of our countries have a vital interest in ensuring the safety of our citizens and in the prevention of terrorist actions.”
Equally important is the law enforcement and criminal law cooperation that exists between Ireland and the United States in ensuring that criminals cannot evade justice and in the prevention of terrorist actions. Amongst other issues, Minister Shatter and Attorney General Holder discussed the importance of extradition in ensuring that those who engage in criminality are bought to justice and the continuing co-operation in this area.
Acknowledging the strong bilateral ties between Ireland and the United States, Minister Shatter looked forward to tomorrow’s meeting between the EU and the United States, stating “ Together with our partners in the European Union, we look forward to a renewed EU-US dialogue and continued effective cooperation in tackling so many shared concerns in the justice and home affairs areas. “