New joint taskforce to tackle crime north and south of the border

It will be led by the gardaí, PSNI and revenue officers

Joint taskforce, cross-border, crime, Joint Agency Task Force, Gardai, PSNI,

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan (right) and Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers (left) | Image via @CharlieFlanagan on Twitter

A new joint taskforce has been set up to tackle cross-border crime.

Ministers from north and south of the border met earlier to discuss the details of the taskforce, which will be led by the gardaí, the PSNI and revenue officers.

The cross-jurisdiction force will aim to tackle criminal gangs operating across the border - including paramilitarism.

Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuiness said that criminality is a scourge on the community, and that a united approach is needed to tackle it.

Also attending the meeting at Farmleigh were the North's First Minister Peter Robinson, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers and the North's Justice Minister David Ford.

Ministers were briefed by the Garda Commissioner and the PSNI chief constable on the threats presented by organised crime, and arrangements for the establishment of the joint agency.

The first meeting of the new task force is expected to take place next month.

Minister Flanagan says it is a step in the right direction.

And Justice Minister Fitzgerald says gardaí face a dangerous job.