Ireland to begin processing Passenger Name Recognition data this month

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan

Ireland will begin processing Passenger Name Recognition (PNR) data from air carriers and exchanging data and processing results with EU member states and Europol this month.

The start date for the measures, designed to strengthen Ireland’s border security, was announced by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan while addressing Interpol’s 46th European Regional Conference today.

Mr Flanagan told the conference, which is taking place in Dublin for the first time, that the introduction of PNR “will greatly assist in strengthening the integrity of the EU’s borders, help to thwart serious criminals and terrorist and overall enhance public safety”.

EU Directive 2016/681 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 requires each member state to set up a Passenger Information Unit (PIU) with the necessary resources.

The Irish PIU will be fully functional from 25th May.

He said: “PNR data is travel related information made available by air carriers. It has obvious potential value as an information resource to police and law enforcement services in the context of investigating and preventing serious crime, such as human trafficking, drug trafficking and international sex tourism. It also serves as an invaluable support in combating international terrorism.”

The minister added: “The current global terrorism threat is dynamic and constantly evolving, and we too must continue to evolve to meet the challenges it presents.

“Any actions that we can take to protect our democratic freedoms by stopping those who seek to attack our freedoms and our way of life must remain a priority for us.”