Criminal gangs are looking at Ireland as potentially a 'soft target' due to our non-membership of the EU's public prosecution office.
That's according to Ireland South MEP Billy Kelleher, who believes the State being outside the remit of the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) is leaving Ireland vulnerable.
Mr Kelleher told The Pat Kenny Show Ireland's legal system is different.
"It's a cross-border, European prosecuting office - it effectively investigates certain crimes and can prosecute in national courts," he said.
"The difficulty of course is Ireland has a different legal system to most of the European Union.
"We've common law, it's based on court cases, interpretations and precedent - whereas in Europe they have a codified, written, civil law.
"[This] means that the gathering of evidence is viewed differently, what can be submitted in a court, who can prosecute in court is different to Ireland.
"So we have legal impediments to actually joining this particular organisation.
"It is up and running, it is investigating - and its accounting for 2022 show it was involved in 1,100 active investigations and €14 billion in terms of damages".
Mr Kelleher said wiretaps and surveillance have shown that such gangs are looking to non-EPPO countries.
He said Ireland's border with a third country, the UK, could also draw more attention to us.
"Importation of luxury goods, for example, could be coming from the UK from now on," he said.
"VAT fraud is a big issue; VAT fraud is one of the biggest issues across the entire European Union.
"In 2018, there was VAT fraud of about €140 billion... so that's a certain area that we have to be very conscious of as well".
He said any country that is not signed up means any fraud would be referred back to national authorities.
"Evidence that is gathered in a different way in Europe could not be submitted to courts in Ireland, for example, with a warrant system and the constitutional issues around the gathering of evidence as well," he said.
"So there is definitely restrictions already in place in terms of that cooperation".
On the likelihood of Ireland joining the EPPO, Mr Kelleher said: "We will cooperate with them in what we can do, in terms of our complicated legal system vis-à-vis the rest of Europe," he said.
"It's not compatible being truthful... we have constitutional issues around the collecting of evidence, who prosecutes in court.
"Who prosecutes in court, and who is the prosecuting authority in Ireland, is very different to the rest of Europe in general.
"The difficulty we have is if we don't put some mechanism in place, then Ireland could be seen as a potential soft target.
"That was the reference by the Chief Prosecutor herself".
Other EU countries outside the EPPO include Sweden, Denmark and Hungary.
Listen back to the full interview below: