Ireland Now Connected to Schengen Information System
On 15 March 2021, Ireland joined the Schengen Information System (SIS). The SIS is the largest and most widely used IT system for law enforcement cooperation and external border management in Europe. Irish authorities are now able to receive real-time information, e.g., on persons wanted for arrest and extradition, missing persons, and objects sought for seizure or use as evidence in criminal proceedings. Ireland has set up a new national SIRENE bureau (Supplementary Information Request at the National Entries), which is connected to other Member States’ bureaux, is operational 24/7, and is in charge of coordinating additional information exchange in relation to alerts.
Ireland is not a full member of the Schengen area but participates in the Schengen’s police and judicial cooperation arrangements. Next to Ireland, 26 EU Member States and four Schengen-associated countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) are connected to the SIS. At the end of 2020, the Schengen Information System contained approximately 93 million alerts. It was accessed 3.7 billion times in 2020 and consisted of 209,178 hits (when a search leads to an alert and the authorities confirm it).