Minister Helen McEntee represented Ireland at the Justice and Home Affairs Council held in Brussels on 3 and 4 March 2022.
At the meeting, Home Affairs Ministers approved the decision to activate the Temporary Protection Directive, which will allow for temporary international protection to be given to people forced to leave their homes due to the situation in Ukraine.
Speaking on the discussion on the Temporary Protection Directive, the Minister said:
"Ireland stands in solidarity with our EU colleagues in working to support Ukrainian people fleeing the appalling situation vested on Ukraine by the Russia. We welcome the adoption of the proposal to activate the Temporary Protection Directive, and will play our part in supporting its implementation to the best of our ability. Further to this, Ireland removed visa requirements for Ukrainian nationals with effect from 25 February as an emergency measure to allow family members of Irish Citizens and Ukrainian residents in Ireland, to enter Ireland and we have already seen an increase in numbers arriving."
Other items for discussion on the Home Affairs agenda included: Political Governance of the Schengen area; Council Regulation on the Schengen evaluation and monitoring mechanism; Asylum and Migration; Action of civil protection against the climate change, and; Interpol Red Notices. At lunch, Ministers discussed cooperation in the fight against organized crime, in particular the fight against drug trafficking.
Items for discussion on the Justice agenda included: Electronic Evidence; Fight against Hate Speech and Hate Crime; Access to a lawyer and the rule of law, and; Combatting racism and anti-Semitism, including an exchange of views with the Director of the Fundamental Rights. At lunch, Ministers discussed the current civil and criminal cooperation measures in place with Russia and Belarus.
Speaking on the topic of the fight against hate speech and hate crime, the Minister said:
"Hate Crime and Hate Speech undermine the very foundations of a democratic and inclusive society, and the common values enshrined in the EU treaties. A collective response at European level is needed to effectively address the challenges raised by hate speech and hate crime, and extending the euro crimes list is the first step in addressing this. Ireland welcomes the proposed initiative and arrangements are being made to allow Ireland to opt-in to this measure."
While attending the JHA Council, Minister McEntee also had bilateral meetings with the German Minister for Justice, Dr. Marco Buschmann, and the Cypriot Minister for Justice and Public Order, Stephie Dracos.