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Troy urges Minister to join EU Visa Information System

Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has called on Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to reconsider signing up to the EU’s Visa Information System in a bid to tackle migration and security challenges.

The Longford-Westmeath TD made the remarks after Minister McEntee informed him, in response to a parliamentary question, that Ireland would not be participating in the Visa Information System (VIS) – a system which allows Schengen area states to exchange visa data – because Ireland is not part of the Schengen area.

Minister McEntee said: “The Schengen Area encompasses most EU countries, except for Cyprus and Ireland.

“Bulgaria and Romania will join the Schengen area as of 31 March 2024.

“The non-EU States Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein also have joined the Schengen area.

“Ireland is in a separate Common Travel Area with the UK, the operation of which is not compatible with membership of the Schengen Area Border Code. As a consequence, Ireland does not participate in the Visa Information System.

“Protocol 19 to the Treaty on European Union and Treaty on the Functioning of the EUTEU allows Ireland to request to participate in some or all of the Schengen acquis, and Ireland does participate in certain aspects of the acquis for law enforcement purposes, including the Schengen Information System.”

Mr Troy said the country needs a comprehensive system to ensure it can robustly implement migration policy.

It makes sense for Ireland to partake in this system given the changing migration and security challenges,” he said.

“The system protects travellers, helps asylum applications, improves security and fights abuses.”

Meanwhile, Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar has said he supports an approach put forward by the European People’s Party (EPP) around deporting asylum seekers to “safe third countries”, but said that it would have to comply with international conventions.

The proposal, contained in the EPP’s manifesto detailing its priorities for the next European parliamentary term ahead of elections in June, has been compared to Britain’s Rwanda policy.

Speaking in Washington, Mr Varadkar said: “What we are saying in terms of the EPP policy, we support that approach, but it has to be done in line with the Geneva Conventions and the European Convention on Human Rights”.

Fine Gael is a member of EPP.

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