The four Irish EPP MEPs (Fine Gael) have welcomed today’s European Parliament majority vote in favour of the implementation of an EU-wide Passenger Name Record (PNR) system which will empower the authorities to better track terrorists and serious criminals.
Seán Kelly (South), Mairead McGuinness (Midlands North West), Brian Hayes (Dublin) and Deirdre Clune (South) voted in favour of PNR – a crucial counter-terrorism measure for Europe:
“After five years of unnecessary delays caused by the liberals, socialists and extreme-left in the European Parliament, an EU PNR will finally be implemented,” said the MEPs who are part of the EPP Group which consistently championed PNR at EU level.
“According to Europol, at least 5,000 Europeans have travelled to terror hotspots in Syria and Iraq to train in terrorist camps and take up arms, many of them have returned to Europe intent on harming innocent people as evidenced by the tragic terror attacks in Paris and Brussels. We have a duty to strengthen security and protect our citizens, while preserving our freedoms. One crucial way to do that is by securing our external borders and bolstering intelligence-gathering,” the MEPs said in a joint statement today.
The database will give European security services access to vital details on all travellers flying in and out of the EU. Information would be shared on request and kept for five years, although any elements that could identify an individual would be anonymised after six months.
Leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament, Seán Kelly MEP added: “Many EU Member States already have a PNR system in place nationally, and the UK and Ireland recently agreed to share such information. This EU PNR deal will ensure that all Member States share this vital information in a coordinated, efficient manner. All countries must now fully implement the system as an urgent priority”.
PNR will also be used to track other serious criminals involved in people trafficking, the illegal drugs and guns trade and more.