Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has said the Government has approved his proposals on counter-terrorism legislation, which will require details of passengers on flights entering or leaving the State.

The proposals come under the European Union directive - Passenger Name Record (PNR) - that Ireland signed up to and must be implemented by 25 May this year.

PNR means airlines will have to provide advance passenger information to authorities here and in other EU countries.

Mr Flanagan said the shared intelligence resource is significant in the fight against terrorism.

"The proposed new PNR system is recognised across the EU as a key element in the fight against terrorism.

"It will facilitate informed, coordinated and targeted action among member states and enhance national and EU security to protect the safety and lives of individual citizens," he said. 

The legislation mainly concerns flights in and out of the EU, but individual member states can decide to apply it to flights within the EU.

There will be a Passenger Information Unit established which will be responsible for the collection, processing and transfer of passenger information data.   

Under data protection provisions, information will be deleted after five years.

Information on a person's race, political opinions, and religious beliefs may not be obtained.

A further safeguard in the legislation will be that the Passenger Information Unit will have a Data Protection Officer who will be responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with data protection requirements.

Responding to this measure, a spokesperson at the Data Protection Commissioner's said: "This legislation is derived from an EU directive and it would be expected that it will adhere to Data Protection Legislation and jurisprudence set down by the European Court of Justice."