Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 65 - Drug trafficking [25090/11]

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 65 - Drug trafficking [25090/11]. (25 Oct 2011)

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65. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the relationship between this State and other EU countries in the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre - Narcotics (MAOC-N). [25090/11]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): The Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre, Narcotics (MAOC-N) was established pursuant to an international agreement concluded on 30 September 2007 between Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Portugal, France and the United Kingdom.

The impetus for this regional initiative was a concern that the analysis of dug imports, in particular cocaine imports from South America into Western Europe, had shown an increase in illicit drug trafficking by sea and air across the Atlantic to Europe and the West African Seaboard. Furthermore, there was a concern about the difficulty in obtaining timely information for actions in this field.
The purpose of the Centre, which is based in Lisbon, is to facilitate cooperation in the suppression of illicit drug trafficking across the Atlantic towards Europe and the West African Seaboard, with the possibility of extending its operations, inter alia, into the Western Mediterranean basin. The functions of the Centre are collecting and analysing operational information, enhancing intelligence through better information exchange, and ascertaining the availability of assets to facilitate interdictions in accordance with the national laws of the Parties.
The Centre’s work is primarily focused on intelligence exchange and cooperation between the Parties leading to the interdiction of large maritime and aviation drug shipments and the severing of links between transportation networks and the shore based command and control personnel.
All Parties to the Agreement are members of the Centre. The Executive Board of the Centre is comprised of a representative from each of the Parties. In addition, all of the Parties have national drug liaison officers stationed in the Centre who can assist in the exchange of intelligence with the other State Parties and in the development of international multi-agency operations.
Ireland is represented at the Centre by Liaison Officers from An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners(Customs Service). While significant funding contributions towards the centre are made by the European Commission, additional costs are borne equally by the Parties to the Agreement.
The Centre has played a significant role in assisting the interception of narcotic shipments destined for the European Union arriving from the Americas. Since the Centre was set up it has assisted in 47 maritime interdictions, which resulted in the seizure of over 52 tonnes of cocaine and over 47 tonnes of cannabis.
Written Answers – Drug Trafficking
Vol. 744 No. 4
Tuesday, 25 October 2011

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