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Written Answers - EU Agencies

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 2

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 220.  Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  if he will explain the operations of an organisation (details supplied); the financial costs and legal obligations associated with this network here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3241/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter FRONTEX (European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union) is the European Union agency responsible for border security cooperation. While ultimate responsibility for the control of the external borders of the European Union lies with the Member States the Agency strengthens border security by ensuring the proper coordination of Member States’ actions in the implementing of EU relating to the management of the external borders. FRONTEX is headquartered in Warsawand became operational for the first time in 2005. The Agency was established on the basis of Council Regulation (EC) 2007/2004 which was subsequently amended by Regulation (EC) 1168/2011.

While Ireland is excluded from full participation in FRONTEX, because the legal base of the Regulation falls outside those provisions of the Schengen acquis in which Ireland has applied to participate, we have continued to build up a close relationship with the Agency since its inception. On that basis Ireland agrees an annual programme of work with the Agency and made a financial contribution (€250,000) to the Agency in 2011 and in previous years. Ireland participates, as appropriate, in a range of operations (air border and joint return) and the risk analysis network of the Agency. Ireland benefits significantly from cooperation with FRONTEX in terms of the interception of illegal migrants on route to Ireland and, in particular, joint return operations which means that the cost to the State of deportation operations is much lower than it would be if my Department was to organise such operations on its own. By way of illustration, of the 25 aircraft chartered for deportation flights since June 2009, 22 of these were arranged through FRONTEX and operated in conjunction with immigration authorities in other EU Member States.

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