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Policy Information

Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing

Published: 7 December 2018
From: Department of Finance


To ensure that Ireland’s policies remain compliant with EU and international standards, the Department of Finance chairs the inter-agency Anti-Money Laundering Steering Committee, which monitors Ireland’s overall ML/TF regime.

The Department of Finance takes a lead role in the forming of national policy regarding negotiations at EU level on the introduction of Anti-Money Laundering legislation; and also leads the Irish delegation at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) (on Money Laundering) in the development of policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing at the international level.

The Department also introduces measures to give effect to various EU regulations relating to financial sanctions which are concerned with curtailing the movement of payments and capital.

4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4AMLD) (Directive 2015/8/49)

The 4AMLD and the associated Funds Transfer Regulation (FTR) were agreed in 2015 at EU level. The negotiations were led by the Department of Finance in consultation with other relevant departments, agencies and stakeholders.

The Information Accompanying Transfers of Funds Regulations 608 of 2017, entered into force in December 2017. The majority of 4AMLD was transposed by the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2018, which entered into force in November 2018.

A package of amendments to the 4th Anti- Money Laundering Directive, known as 5AMLD, was adopted on 30 May 2018 as Directive 2018/843.

The Department of Justice and Equality will transpose the majority of the Directive by a Criminal Justice Amendment Act, the General Scheme of which was agreed by the Cabinet on 3 January 2019.

The elements dealing with beneficial ownership of companies and trusts, and the establishment of a central register of banks accounts, will be transposed by the Department of Finance.

Beneficial Ownership

As of 15 November 2016, all companies and legal entities (including industrial and provident societies) must take all reasonable steps to hold adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial ownership. This information is to be kept in their own companies’ beneficial ownership register.

This arises from the transposition of Article 30 (1) of the 4AMLD by a Statutory Instrument entitled ‘European Union (Anti-Money Laundering: Beneficial Ownership of Corporate Entities) Regulations 2016’ (S.I. No. 560/2016).

Overview of New Regulation on Beneficial Ownership

Anti-Money Laundering Guidelines (AML)

Following the enactment of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2018 the Central Bank of Ireland is in the process of developing guidelines in order to assist credit and financial institutions in understanding their AML/CFT obligations,

The Central Bank has shared its draft guidelines for public consultation and general feedback on the Guidelines. The consultation period commenced on 21 December 2018, and will close on 5 April 2019.

See link below for further details:

Consultation on anti money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism guidelines for the financial sector

National Risk Assessment (NRA)

Ireland has produced its first National Risk Assessment (NRA) for Ireland. The NRA aims to provide a broad assessment of Ireland’s Money Laundering/Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) risks, to enhance the understanding of them, and to develop effective strategies to address them.

A sector-specific assessment of the ML/TF risks in the gambling sector, which updates the national risk assessment can be found at Irish Gambling Sector Risk Assessment.

Private Sector Consultative Forum (PSCF)

Irish AML/CFT policy is informed and assisted by the Private Sector Consultative Forum (PSCF), which provides an information-sharing framework for private sector stakeholders and designated persons to regularly engage with public agencies on all AML/CFT issues.

The PSCF is chaired in rotation on a half-yearly basis by members of the forum. The current Chair is from the insurance sector.

Competent Authorities for AML

The Criminal Justice Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act 2010 establishes a number of competent authorities who monitor designated persons and secure compliance with the requirements of the Act:


Sanctions – also known and referred to as “restrictive measures” – are legally binding measures that can be taken against individuals, entities or countries. Sanctions are adopted by the United Nations Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and through decisions taken at European Union level.


EU and UN sanctions are implemented in Ireland through EU Council Decisions and Regulations. The Regulations are directly applicable in Irish law. In addition, a Statutory Instrument (SI) is made in order to provide for a criminal offence for breach of the sanctions and for related penalties. A comprehensive list of SIs may be found in the fully searchable, Irish Statute Book.

It might be noted that, while a “whole of Government” approach is taken to the implementation of sanctions, for administrative efficiency, relevant SIs are made by either the Minister for Finance or the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Operational responsibility for implementation, however, lies with the relevant Competent Authorities as outlined below. Other Departments and agencies also play a role in implementing sanctions regimes within their functional areas of responsibility.

Who are the Competent Authorities for sanctions in Ireland and what is their role?

For the purpose of EU sanctions regulations, the following have been designated as Ireland’s “Competent Authorities”:

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for foreign policy and representing Ireland internationally. In the context of sanctions, this involves engagement with the relevant bodies at the United Nations and the EU, and ensuring information is shared with the appropriate Government Departments and Agencies in Ireland. The Department’s officials represent Ireland at EU working groups where sanctions measures are negotiated and this participation is underpinned by input as appropriate from other Departments. The Department is also responsible for considering any requests for humanitarian exemptions pursuant to a sanctions regime.

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation is responsible for enforcing trade-related sanctions. Such sanctions may include restrictions or complete embargos on certain exports, for example, Dual-use items and Military equipment, to designated entities or regions. Sanctions may also apply to associated support services such as maintenance and repair. In some instances, exporters may be required to obtain prior authorisation from the Department for exports of certain items.

Central Bank of Ireland

The Central Bank of Ireland is responsible for the administration, supervision and enforcement of relevant aspects of financial sanctions in Ireland. Financial sanctions are primarily concerned with curtailing the movement of payments and capital.


If a query relates to a particular element of a sanction’s regime (eg. financial sanctions; trade sanctions; arms embargo; humanitarian exemptions) it is advisable to contact that relevant Competent Authority in accordance with the information outlined above.

We recommend that designated persons refer to the EU and UN Consolidated Lists of Sanctions in the first instance to ensure the most up-to-date notification of sanctioned individuals.


Link to the EU Sanctions list:


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