Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 190 - Drug trafficking [28780/10].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 190 - Drug trafficking [28780/10]. (30 Jun 2010)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2...

190. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he is satisfied that the exchange of information between the authorities here and those in other jurisdictions has maximised the efficiency of the fight against international drug trafficking; and if he will make a statement on the matter. 

Minister for Justice and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): I am advised by the Garda authorities that they have a number of strong strategic partnerships in place at national and international level which include, inter alia, partnerships with Europol, Interpol, the Revenue Commissioners (Customs & Excise Branch), the Irish Naval Service, MAOCN (Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre Narcotics), SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency) and the United States Drug Enforcement Agency. An Garda Síochána also has a special relationship with its Law Enforcement partners in the PSNI in respect of policing drugs on the island of Ireland.
An Garda Síochána continues to be relentless in the pursuit of drug traffickers especially those who target Ireland and Europe and, in cooperation with Revenue Customs and other International Law Enforcement agencies actively assisted by Europol and Interpol, is currently conducting a number of ongoing operations against drug-trafficking. An Garda Síochána has liaison officers based in The Hague, Paris, Madrid, London, and at Europol, Interpol and MAOC(N) in Lisbon.
The targeting of international traffickers is supplemented by a vigorous policy against persons in the Irish state who are supplying controlled drugs. Drugs and Organised Crime is again being prioritised by An Garda Síochána as a core focus for 2010, through the Commissioner’ Policing Plan, 2010, which reflects Government strategies contained in the National Drug Strategy. The links between Organised Crime and the illicit drugs trade are also being actively pursued. The Garda National Drugs Unit, with other national units, including the Organised Crime Unit and the Criminal Assets Bureau, are targeting persons involved in the illegal drugs trade who are subject of intelligence-led operations aimed at detecting and prosecuting offenders.
Revenue’s Customs Service has a shared competence with an Garda Síochána in respect of drugs law enforcement. Their relationship is underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding, an Operation Protocol and a Joint Task Force arrangement to deal with intelligence-driven operations.
I am advised by the Revenue authorities that these arrangements work very effectively and provide for the exchange of intelligence between Revenue and the Garda authorities and for the conduct of joint operations. Furthermore, Revenue participate in the annual programme of Joint Customs Operations which target the highest risk areas in terms of drug smuggling. These operations are conducted under the auspices of the Customs Co operation Working Party at EU level.
Revenue’s Customs Service enjoys excellent working relationships with other Customs and Law Enforcement Services abroad. Information and intelligence is exchanged under international conventions and Memoranda of Understanding. Due to the trans-national nature of drug trafficking, the exchange of real-time actionable intelligence is a key component in the law enforcement response and such exchanges have resulted in many significant drug seizures. Revenue has an officer assigned to each of the following: the Europol National Unit, a Liaison Officer at the Irish Desk in Europol, Den Haag, a liaison officer at the Irish Embassy in London, and a liaison officer at the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre-Narcotics in Lisbon and an officer (on a part time basis) in the Office of the Minister for Drugs. These assignments all form part of Revenue’s commitment to the international law enforcement effort to suppress drug trafficking.
I am satisfied that a significant impact has been made by arresting and prosecuting a number of major players involved in drug trafficking. A number of gangs and other organised criminal groupings involved in drug-trafficking into Ireland have also been disrupted and dismantled through the ongoing enforcement policies being implemented by An Garda Síochána and the Customs Service. Successes by law enforcement agencies have been acknowledged by our international partners and Ireland has shown that it is ready, willing and able to play its part in international drugs law enforcement.
Vol. 714 No. 1 
Written Answers. – Drug Trafficking
30 July 2010

Repository Staff Only: item control page