Fine Gael TD for Cork South Central Jerry Buttimer has said that information from Europol and international information sharing on serious crime have benefited Cork. Deputy Buttimer was speaking in the Dáil on Thursday (5 October 2012) during the second stage of the Europol Bill 2012.
“Locally, in Cork we have seen the benefits of Europol. Last October, the Garda conducted a strategic intelligence-led investigation into an international drug trafficking gang. It led to the arrest of five people and the discovery of cocaine with a street value of €5 million. The Garda, Revenue’s customs service, Europol, Interpol and the Dutch law enforcement agencies worked together and showed the benefits of sharing and cooperation.
“This year, we saw Europol’s effectiveness in tackling computer crime. In May and June, a Trojan virus was released to lock computers and charge a “penalty” of €100 each to unlock them. The message displayed the logos of local law enforcement agencies, for example, the Garda. Not only did Europol work with national law enforcement agencies, it also worked with Trend Micro to combat this attack. I pay tribute to the company for its involvement in the investigation and for its commitment to employment in Cork city. For nine years, Trend Micro has based its European, Middle East and African headquarters in Cork where it employs more than 200 people.
“In a world where international travel and the sharing of information are easy, it is crucial that there be cooperation at a high level between all national police forces. If we are to combat sophisticated crime networks, state law enforcement bodies must have the systems and resources designed to tackle the international aspect of criminal activity. Europol is one international organisation that can assist in the battle against international crime.
“The legislation will mean that there is no longer a need for a factual indication of organised crime before Europol can become involved. It will improve the cooperation between member states when dealing with serious offences. The Bill also expands the categories of crime in respect of which Europol can become involved. It can become involved where there has been suspected drug trafficking, money laundering and human trafficking.
“Europol has enabled the sharing of information between countries to tackle cross-border crime. This Bill will enhance Europol’s effectiveness, strengthen the Garda and allow the latter to access and share information on a wider range of crimes. I hope that these provisions will enable an increased rate of detection of serious offences with cross-border aspects.”