I welcome the vote in the Assembly that will enable the full operation of the National Crime Agency in Northern Ireland. This will ensure that the people of Northern Ireland are afforded the same protections from serious and organised crime as those in the rest of the United Kingdom.
When the NCA is up and running in Northern Ireland, will my right hon. Friend speak via the Chief Constable to ensure that the agency investigates the destination of funds from serious and organised crime? Many of the serious and organised criminals in the border area are the people giving funds to the IRA, and it is important that those funds do not fund political parties.
I am sure my right hon. Friend will understand that I cannot comment on individual cases, but I know that the full implementation of the NCA in Northern Ireland is a welcome step. I pay tribute to the Justice Minister and others for securing that result, and I know that they will bear down on all the perpetrators of such activities and on any who receive the funds that those activities create.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Will the National Crime Agency specifically target the organised criminal gangs that are engaging in subterfuge and in the organised criminal activity of fuel laundering along the border areas of Northern Ireland?
That is a significant problem, and the House will have the chance to debate it later. Significant cross-border co-operation is under way, and the authorities in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the police services on both sides of the border are determined to tackle the problem and bring the perpetrators to justice.