Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 485 - Drugs crime [11829/15].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 485 - Drugs crime [11829/15]. (24 Mar 2015)

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485. Deputy Finian McGrathasked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will adopt approaches taken in other jurisdictions in response to drug related community violence and intimidation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11829/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Drug related violence and intimidation is one of the most insidious and harmful features associated with the illegal trade in drugs.


This was a key issue of concern raised during the consultation phase in the development of our National Drugs Strategy 2009- 2016.


Under action 5 of the National Drug Strategy An Garda Síochána is charged with leading on the development of a framework to provide an appropriate response to the issue of drug related in intimidation in the community. In line with that action a framework known as the "Drug-Related Intimidation Programme" was developed by the Garda National Drugs Unit and the community based National Family Support Network and was introduced nationwide in 2013.


Under this programme nominated Garda Inspectors for every Garda Division have been designated by the Garda Commissioner to ensure that a confidential, safe and effective means of dealing with reports of intimidation is readily available. These Inspectors act as a direct point of contact for any individuals (or for representatives acting on their behalf) in responding to intimidation being reported. More details of the operation of this programme are provided on the websites of both An Garda Síochána and the National Family Support Network at www.garda.ie and www.fsn.ie.


The introduction of this Programme has been welcomed and it is expected that its implementation will lead to further more positive outcomes in tackling this problem.


More generally, the Garda National Drugs Unit is continuing to work with local Garda Drugs Units to ensure a co-ordinated and effective approach to protecting our communities, individuals and their families from the harm and pain caused by drug misuse.


I am also aware that discussions are taking place in a number of fora with a view to developing our understanding of the nature and extent of the problem as it affects our local communities. As the Deputy will be aware the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality has, for example, recently engaged in such discussions as part of its examination of the effects of gangland crime.


Of course, any proposals for a more innovative approach to the problem, whether adopted from international experience or building on the current approach under the National Drug Strategy, and which offer further value in tackling the problem as it occurs in this jurisdiction can be given due consideration.

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