Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 77 & 78 - Drugs prevention and drugs crime [17591/16 & 17592/16].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 77 & 78 - Drugs prevention and drugs crime [17591/16 & 17592/16]. (22 Jun 2016)

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77. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality  her plans in relation to the mini-cabs concept; the number of Garda Síochana divisional asset profilers in situ currently and how many successful convictions have been concluded as a direct result of the asset profilers; the number pending before the Courts as a result of the asset profilers; and her plans for additional resources to specifically deal with drug related matters.  [17591/16]

 

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Criminal Assets Bureau was established as a national multi-disciplinary agency specialising in the targeting of proceeds of crime.

 

There are very practical advantages to having such expertise located in one dedicated unit with the requisite authority to act on a national basis, particularly in a relatively small jurisdiction such as ours. To achieve nationwide coverage the Criminal Assets Bureau has for some time maintained a link with each of the Garda Divisions through the operation of the Divisional Assets Profiler Programme.

 

The role of trained Divisional Assets Profilers, as outlined in the Annual Reports of the Criminal Assets Bureau, is to identify proceeds of crime in their respective Divisions and liaise with the Bureau to bring appropriate action in respect of criminal proceeds. While on occasion the Bureau does investigate criminal matters which may result in criminal prosecutions this is not its primary function.

 

The Annual Reports of the Criminal Assets Bureau provide information in relation to the activities of the Bureau including court applications made by the Bureau under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Tax Code, the Social Welfare Code and the Criminal Law.

 

The number of trained Divisional Asset Profilers now stands at 218. As the Deputy will be aware the Programme for a Partnership Government contains a commitment to examine how communities can better engage with the Criminal Assets Bureau including provision of information on the suspected local use of the proceeds of crime and the potential of a smaller Criminal Assets Bureau being established to target regional assets.

 

Finally, I understand the Deputy's question concerning resources to relate to recent initiatives which have been announced in response to current levels of organised crime activity. In this regard, I have announced a range of measures including legislative proposals to provide additional powers to the Criminal Assets Bureau in targeting the proceeds of crime, an additional allocation of €55 million to be made available to An Garda Síochána this year in support of targeted measures against crime in its various manifestations, as well as the proposals for accelerated recruitment into An Garda Síochána. The Garda Commissioner has also announced the establishment of a new Garda Special Crime Task Force to augment existing responses to organised crime at a local level.

 

78. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to work with other jurisdictions on drug-related crime, with a particular emphasis on assets in foreign banks, financial institutions, property and so on; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17592/16]

 

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Drugs and organised crime continue to be prioritised by An Garda Síochána as a core focus for 2016 through An Garda Síochána’s National Policing Plan.

 

Given the global nature of the drugs trade international law enforcement co-operation remains a key element in the overall response.

 

An Garda Síochána already has strong and strategic partnerships in place at international level targeting drug trafficking including, for example, those established through Interpol and Europol, as well as Ireland's participation in the Maritime Analysis Operations Centre for Narcotics based in Lisbon. An Garda Síochána has Garda Liaison Officers based on a full-time basis in other EU Member States, including the Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal.

 

An Garda Síochána also participate in a number of other European projects targeting the supply of drugs. In this regard, An Garda Síochána is currently conducting a number of ongoing operations in co-operation with Revenue Customs and other international law enforcement units which are being supported by Europol and Interpol and which target persons suspected to be involved in international drug trafficking.

 

The Criminal Assets Bureau is also engaged in ongoing co-operation with other international law enforcement agencies in the pursuance of its statutory remit including with other national authorities, Interpol and Europol. The Bureau is also a member of two networks, the Camden Assets Regional International Network and the EU Assets Recovery Network which link it closely to agencies involved in the recovery of the proceeds of crime internationally. The Annual Reports of the Bureau provide many examples of the level of co-operation in respect of investigations which have been concluded.

 

Ireland is also a party to a number of international instruments under the auspices of the United Nations, Council of Europe and European Union which provide for co-operation in targeting money laundering and the proceeds of crime. Under the mechanisms established to monitor implementation and to review the effectiveness of the measures contained in these instruments, my Department and An Garda Síochána, as well as other agencies, are engaged in the ongoing development of international responses in this regard.

Item Type:Dail Debates
Source:Oireachtas
Date:22 June 2016
EndNote:View
Subjects:MM-MO Crime and law > Organised crime
MM-MO Crime and law > Crime > Substance related crime
MM-MO Crime and law > Crime prevention
VA Geographic area > International aspects
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland

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