Ireland is taking more than twice as long as it should to process European Arrest Warrants, according to an EU report.

The European Arrest Warrant is supposed to simplify the process of tracking down suspects in one European Union member state and transferring them to another country for questioning.

In cases where suspects objected to their extradition, it took Irish authorities an average of 226 days to complete the procedure.

More than twice the allowed time.

There is a “90-day time limit for the decision on the execution of the EAW [European Arrest Warrant] according to Article 17(4) of the Framework Decision”.

Ireland has a “long average duration” although this has fallen from an average of 558 days in 2020, the report notes.

Ireland geographical position away from mainland Europe, particularly since Brexit, makes the processing of European Arrest Warrants more complicated.

Ireland is “reliant on transfers taking place by air and due to persistent limitations in commercial flights; both as to their frequency and destinations, the Irish High Court was left with no alternative but to postpone numerous surrenders pursuant to Article 23 EAW FD causing surrenders to take longer to effect under the EAW framework.”

In all 73 cases where Ireland broke the 90-day time, the Irish authorities notified the EU’s criminal justice agency, Eurojust.

“Eurojust can then monitor the cases and help identify the problems causing delays. To improve compliance with the time limits in surrender proceedings, Eurojust can also facilitate the exchange of information between the competent authorities.”

Statistics on the practical operation of the European arrest warrant, published 20 July 2023

The European Commission says it intends to publish an updated handbook by the end of the year with advice “on how to issue and execute an EAW, to facilitate and simplify the daily work of the competent judicial authorities. The handbook provides guidance on the procedural steps for issuing and executing an EAW.”