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Concern at proposals on Passenger Name Records – Ó Snodaigh

1 July, 2008 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD


Sinn Féin Justice and Equality Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, speaking at a meeting of the Oireachtas EU Scrutiny Committee, expressed concerns at proposals to collect, retain for 13 years and share with other countries, personal details of all people flying in and out of the EU.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said citizens are being asked to foot a hefty bill for their own surveillance and ultimately for a measure that has not been shown to be effective.

He said, "The proposal before the Committee today obliges Member States to undertake risk profiling and assessment of all passengers (Article 3). The airliners will pass additional costs arising from this decision onto passengers. The tax payer will have to foot the bill for the Passenger Information Units which Member States are required to establish. Basically the citizen will foot a hefty Bill for their own surveillance and ultimately for a measure which has not been shown to be effective.

"No one has stopped to consider whether the Passenger Name Records (PNR) agreements in operation thus far have actually contributed to a reduction in crime. Why has the government still not questioned whether the existing arrangements have been effective before proposing further use? At a seminar on PNR where the air carriers were invited in 2006, they were asked how many planes have been diverted/sent back to it's origin after taking off because of the PNR on one or more passengers - and how many times shouldn't the planes have been diverted? The companies answered: '10 times planes have been diverted, and 10 times it was a false alarm'.

"In addition this proposal may prevent passengers from availing of short notice standby flights." ENDS

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