Crime gangs working on cross-border basis

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The Justice Committee chairman said he believed members of serious organised gangs carrying out crimes in the Irish Republic were living in Northern Ireland, on 28 January 2013.

Paul Givan said he had heard reports some criminals were moving across the border and were residing in places like Newry and Warrenpoint.

"We need assurances that Northern Ireland is not seen as a safe place for these individuals to be residing and that every effort is made to try and track them down," he said.

Mr Givan was making his contribution to an urgent question asked by the SDLP's Conall McDevitt.

Mr McDevitt had questioned how criminal justice agencies in the Irish Republic and in Northern Ireland were working together in their response to the murder of an Irish police officer.

Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was killed at Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, County Louth, on 25 January.

The 41-year-old was one of two detectives on escort duty when an attempted robbery took place.

Irish police said he did not produce his weapon before he was shot.

The gang stole 4,000 euros before escaping from the scene.

Stormont Justice Minister David Ford restated that he and Ireland's Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, had reinforced their commitment to work together against criminal gangs.

"A fight against terrorism and organised crime is a fight in which we are all united and one which is clearly seen by the response which is coming from the PSNI to the Garda Siochana today and has come from the Garda Siochana to the PSNI in the past," Mr Ford said.

"There is no doubt that there is a lot going on on a cross border basis and it is absolutely clear that that requires the support of each and every one of us."

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