Home > 67. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the discussions he has had with the Department of Finance on the need to ring-fence the proceeds of crime which are seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau to be re-invested in community projects.

[Oireachtas] 67. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the discussions he has had with the Department of Finance on the need to ring-fence the proceeds of crime which are seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau to be re-invested in community projects. (17 Nov 2010)

URL: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2010/11/17/00045...


67.  Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the discussions he has had with the Department of Finance on the need to ring-fence the proceeds of crime which are seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau to be re-invested in community projects in the communities most affected by drugs crime in particular; his plans to introduce legislation to ensure same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Justice and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): The issue of the proceeds of crime seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau being used to fund community projects and drug services in disadvantaged communities has been raised from time to time.
 
It is a matter on which my Department has consulted with the Department of Finance who would have primary responsibility in this area.
 
While it is accepted that there may be some potential symbolic value in the suggestion nonetheless the proposal is one which is problematic and raises a number of particular difficulties.
 
Revenue which has been accumulated by the Criminal Assets Bureau is paid into the Government’s Central Fund. The Central Fund is provided for under Article 11 of the Constitution. This fund, except where provided otherwise by law, is the destination of all State revenues and the source of all Government spending. It is the Central Fund from which the Government draws for expenditure on all necessary public services and investment including the provision of drug services.
 
With certain exceptions, it is believed that earmarking revenues for a specific expenditure programme would, in general, constrain the Government in the implementation of its overall expenditure policy. Furthermore, if certain revenues were earmarked for particular projects any projects thus funded would be dependent on actual revenue collected from that source. Therefore, a fall in revenue generated by that source could imply a fall in expenditure on such projects.
 
Given the variable and uncertain nature of the value of the assets seized by the Bureau in any given year, in addition to the potential delays through the possibility of legal challenge to court disposal orders, the provision of ongoing funds to drug programmes or projects in this manner would be problematic. Such a revenue source would not facilitate the proper planning of drug treatment provision or other such programmes by organisations involved in the delivery of services.
 
It could also be said that a significant proportion of the monies secured by the Bureau are already owed to the Exchequer as it often relates to non-payment of taxes and social welfare fraud.
 
In the case of drugs services the Government is already allocating very considerable resources to a wide range of Government Departments and State agencies as well as to the community and voluntary drug treatment sectors to tackle the issue of drug misuse.
 
 
Vol. 722 No. 2
Written Answers – Proceeds of Crime
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Item Type:Dail Debates
Source:Oireachtas
Date:17 November 2010
EndNote:View
Subjects:MA-ML Social science, culture and community > Community action > Community development
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health care economics
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Economic policy
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Prevention by sponsor or setting > Community-based prevention
MM-MO Crime and law > Crime > Substance related crime > Crime associated with substance production and distribution
MM-MO Crime and law > Organised crime

Repository Staff Only: item control page