Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 95 - Garda deployment [38312/14].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 95 - Garda deployment [38312/14]. (08 Oct 2014)

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Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the Cavan-Monaghan drugs unit with proper resourcing will be re-established as the scourge of drugs is a serious issue throughout both counties; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38312/14] 

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of these resources. 

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of the Cavan/Monaghan Garda Division on 31 August 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 326. There are also 26 Garda Reserves and 36 Civilians attached to the Division. All Gardaí have responsibility, inter alia, to deal with drugs issues as and when they arise. 

The Detective Branch in the Cavan/Monaghan Division take a lead role in the enforcement of drug related legislation in conjunction with the Garda National Drugs Unit members of the Cavan/Monaghan Division. 

Tackling the issue of drug misuse in our society remains one of the most complex challenges that we face. The overall response to the problem is set out in the National Drugs Strategy for the period 2009-2016. The Strategy provides a co-ordinated and comprehensive response to issue of drug misuse and is very much founded on a partnership approach. Drug law enforcement remains a fundamental feature of our overall approach and continues to be a key priority area. This is very much reflected in An Garda Síochána’s Policing Plan for 2014 which highlights a strong focus in combating serious crime in all its forms, in particular organised crime and its close links with drug trafficking. 

The specific strategies put in place by An Garda Síochána, to address the sale, supply, importation and distribution of illegal drugs include the establishment of targeted intelligence led operations focused on specific facets of the drugs trade. A further feature of the Garda response is the continued and close co-operation with the Revenue Commissioners (Customs Service) and with other national drug law enforcement agencies, such as the Health Products Regulatory Authority in tackling drug supply.

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