NEW anti-terror legislation is to be introduced in Ireland that will make it illegal for people to travel to another country to engage in terrorism or join a terror group.
The new laws will be implemented as part of an EU Directive which requires member states to implement tougher laws against terroristic activities.
Ireland is yet to officially implement ‘Protocol 21’ – which also criminalises engaging in terror training – but fully intends to do so, a Department of Justice spokesman said.
Protocol 21 was created with the aim of responding to the evolving terrorist threat in Europe.
It aims to strengthen the EU's legal framework in preventing terrorist attacks by criminalising acts of extremism as well as reinforcing the rights of victims of terrorism.
Ireland and Britain are not bound to Protocol 21, despite all other EU states having just 18 months adopt and implement the directive by passing relevant legislation.
Nevertheless, Ireland fully intends to bring in the tougher anti-terror laws, after it emerged that one of the London Bridge attackers had lived in the Rathmines area of Dublin over an 18 month period from 2014 and 2016.
A Department of Justice spokesman told The Irish Post: “Ireland fully supports the new EU Directive which consolidates the existing overall approach to combatting terrorism into one Directive and includes some further measures to address risks related to travel to third countries to engage in terrorist activities.
“While the timeframe in which the proposal was brought forward did not allow for Ireland to opt in before its adoption, Ireland fully intends to participate in the Directive and will opt to participate in it in accordance with Protocol 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.”
Protocol 21 will criminalise the following acts in Ireland:
Travelling for terrorist purposes
– To counter in particular the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters. It will ensure that, for example, travel to conflict zones with the purpose to join the activities of a terrorist group or travel to a EU Member State with the purpose to commit a terrorist attack will be made punishable.
The organisation and facilitation of such travels
– Including through logistical and material support, for example the purchase of tickets or planning itineraries.
Receiving training for terrorist purposes
– E.g. in the making or use of explosives, firearms, noxious or hazardous substances mirroring the already existing provision of knowingly providing such a training.
Providing or collecting funds
– With the intention or the knowledge that they are to be used to commit terrorist offences and offences related to terrorist groups or terrorist activities.
It will also:
Reinforce the rights of terror victims
– Such as the right to receive immediate access to professional support services providing medical and psycho-social treatments, or to receive legal or practical advice, as well as assistance with compensation claims. The emergency response mechanisms immediately after an attacks will be also strengthened
– The Directive also envisages enhanced rules for exchange of information between EU Member States related to terrorist offences gathered in criminal proceedings.