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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 128 - Garda strength [21187/08].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 128 - Garda strength [21187/08]. (28 May 2008)

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128. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has in mind particular proposals to further enhance the strength and facilities available to the gardaí in the fight against drugs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21187/08]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The Garda National Drugs Unit is the primary unit within An Garda Síochána charged with responsibility for drug supply law enforcement. As at 30 April 2008, the latest date for which figures are readily available, the personnel strength of the Unit was 62. Since the publication of the Government’s National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008, Garda resources in the fight against illicit drugs have increased. This is particularly evident with the creation of additional Divisional Drug Units in areas of particular need. These Drugs Units operate in Divisions throughout the country with a primary focus on local drugs activities. In addition, the total strength of the Divisional Drug Units as at the same date was 340. Both the Garda National Drugs Unit and the Divisional units are also supported in their work by officers from other national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation. 

Furthermore, all Gardaí have responsibility, inter alia, to deal with drug related issues as and when they arise. It is of course the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner to allocate personnel throughout the Force taking everything into account. The situation will be kept under review and when additional personnel next become available the needs of the Drugs Units will be fully considered by him within the overall context of the needs of Garda Divisions throughout the country. 

The Deputy will be aware that in today’s world the effective use of resources is contingent on intelligence led operations and in this regard Revenue are currently engaged in assigning a Customs officer to Europol’s headquarters in The Hague and to the recently developed Maritime and Operational Analysis Centre –Narcotics (MAOC-N) in Lisbon. Customs also continue to manage and increase intelligence development by way of the National Drugswatch Programme and liaison with national and international law enforcement colleagues. Revenue’s dedicated Customs Drugs Law Enforcement Branch co-ordinates its national and international drugs enforcement operations and implements numerous joint investigations and controlled deliveries of illicit drugs. In the past three years a total of 73 controlled delivery operations have been carried out in conjunction with An Garda Síochána resulting in substantial supply detections of drugs and numerous arrests and prosecutions of those involved. Finally, on the supply reduction side, the best methods of detecting drug smuggling include intelligence sharing, multi-agency and international co-operation and I can assure the House that both the Garda Síochána and the Customs Service are fully committed to working together in continuing to tackle this societal problem.

Vol. 655 No. 4 Written Answers Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Item Type
Dail Debates
Publication Type
Irish-related
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
Date
28 May 2008
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