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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 261, 262, 263 - Revenue commissioners resources [14029/14, 14041/14, 14042/14].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 261, 262, 263 - Revenue commissioners resources [14029/14, 14041/14, 14042/14]. (25 Mar 2014)

External website: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20a...


261. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Finance the additional equipment or resources the customs and excise division of the Revenue Commissioners have received in 2013 via the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14029/14] 

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that a scanner van, an additional detector dog and three modern replacement baggage x-ray scanners, which were all part-funded under the EU's Hercule II programme, were brought into service during 2013.
 
The scanner van is a specialist vehicle that incorporates x-ray and radiation detection facilities. It is used for monitoring baggage and cargo at ports and airports for drugs, tobacco products, radioactive materials and other contraband. It also allows Revenue enforcement officers to perform controls at other locations such as warehouses and courier depots.
 
The additional detector dog brought the complement of detector dog teams to 14. Three more teams are being commissioned at present, and further funding under the Hercule II programme has been made available for that purpose. The three replacement baggage x-ray scanners are located at Dublin and Shannon Airports and Rosslare Ferry Port. This additional or improved scanning capability, and the additional detector dog, will play an important part in Revenue's work to detect and seize illicit products and substances. The Revenue Commissioners will keep their requirements in this field under review, taking account of technological developments and emerging circumstances and requirements, and will seek to avail of EU support for capability enhancements, where available
 

Customs and excise controls [14041/14]
262. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Finance the number of customs and excise cutter patrol boats that are assigned to patrol the coastline of the west of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14041/14] 

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they currently have two cutters in service, RCC Suirbheir (brought into service in 2004) and RCC Faire (brought into service in 2009).  They are managed and operated by the Revenue Maritime Unit which is based in Cork.
 
The Maritime Unit has a national remit as specialists in coastal risk.  The Unit works very closely with locally based staff in all coastal areas, helping with the development of onshore intelligence as well as patrolling and conducting targeted operations using the cutters.  Details of cutter deployment are not divulged for operational reasons, but there is an annual plan agreed with the management of each Revenue Region to ensure that the cutters and Maritime Unit staff are deployed as required in all parts of the coastal area.  In 2014, the management of the Border Midlands West Region have agreed an extensive programme of work with the Maritime Unit, including surveying and assessing risk in the Region.  This will require the presence of the Maritime Unit and of the cutters along the West coast for extended periods this year.
 
The Maritime Unit is involved on an ongoing basis in the patrol and monitoring of the State's maritime jurisdiction and adjacent waters.  These patrol and monitoring activities are aimed at the prevention, detection, interception and seizure of prohibited and restricted goods (including drugs) smuggled or illegally imported into, or intended to be exported out of, the State/EU. They are also involved in servicing national and international Memoranda of Understanding and Mutual Assistance requests from other jurisdictions. 
 
The Revenue cutters are part of a multi-faceted strategy employed by Revenue in combating drugs trafficking and other smuggling by sea. This strategy includes ongoing analysis of the nature and extent of the problem, developing and sharing intelligence on a national, EU and international basis and ongoing review of operational policies.
 
 
Revenue Commissioners Resources [14042/14]
263. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Finance the number of drug sniffer dogs that are allocated by the Revenue Commissioners to patrol the Border, midlands and west region; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [14042/14]
 
Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they currently have 14 detector dogs at their disposal, 8 of which are specifically trained in drugs detection. One detector dog team focused on drugs is based in Revenue's Border, Midlands and West Region, and teams from other areas of the country are available for deployment within the Region as required, on a risk assessment basis.
 
The experience of the Revenue Commissioners is that detector dog teams play an important part in detecting and seizing illicit drugs, cash and tobacco.  Three additional dog teams are being commissioned at present, two of which will have drugs detection capability. This will bring the total number of teams with drugs detection capability to 10. The Commissioners consider that this complement will provide the requisite support for their detection and enforcement work, but the position will be kept under review on an ongoing basis, in light of emerging circumstances and requirements.

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