New legislation will see advance passenger information for Irish flights

Ireland must bring in the new directive by the end of May

New legislation will see advance passenger information for Irish flights

Pictured is a passport self-scan machine at Dublin Airport Immigration Control in Terminal 1 | Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

The Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan says the Government has approved counter-terrorism proposals requiring advance passenger information for flights entering or leaving the State.

The system is part of a harmonised European Union shared intelligence network to counter terrorism and serious crime.

Under the plans, a Passenger Information Unit (PIU) is to be established to collect, process and transfer data for use by law enforcement authorities in Ireland, other EU member states and Europol.

The new legislation on Passenger Name Records (PNR) will require airlines to provide advance passenger information to authorities.

The legislation is based on the provisions of an EU directive, which the Department of Justice says Ireland must bring in by May 25th.

The PIU is currently operating on a pilot basis using test data.

It will be based in Dublin and come under the remit of the Department of Justice and Equality.

Data retention 

The department says PNR data will only be retained for five years and then must be destroyed, unless legal proceedings are taking place.

The PNR data must also be depersonalised after six months, by masking out the personal data elements.

The PRU will also have a Data Protection Officer, who will be responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with data protection requirements.

Minister Flanagan says: "The proposed new PNR system is recognised across the EU as a key element in the fight against terrorism.

"This shared intelligence resource will be available to law enforcement and other competent authorities throughout the EU.

"It will facilitate informed, coordinated and targeted action among member states and enhance national and EU security to protect the safety and lives of individual citizens".

The Department of Justice adds that the transfer of data to third countries will only take place "on a case-by-case basis and subject to certain conditions".

The new measures will be applicable to non-EU flights.