Home > Dail Eireann debate. Topical issue - Customs and excise controls.

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Topical issue - Customs and excise controls. (08 Nov 2016)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/debate/dail/2...

Deputy Tony McLoughlin: I thank the Ceann Comhairle for selecting this matter, which seeks to highlight the need for Revenue to increase its presence at the ports and airports in the west, with the aim of tackling drug importation networks in this State.


This is an issue of national importance as drug smugglers and international drug gangs continue to wreak havoc in the State on a daily basis. It is an important issue for the people living in the west who are on the front line of this importation battle between the smugglers and Irish officials. It is very important for the Garda and Revenue officials in the north west. They have expressed to me their deep concerns with regard to the lack of drug surveillance operations at our ports and airports.


The Minister of State, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, will be aware that we got very lucky last month when a consignment of cocaine worth some €5 million washed ashore on a beach in County Clare. This consignment had become detached from a boat at sea and eventually washed ashore in Ireland. We do not know where the drugs were destined for and we do not know where they came from. All we know is that 75 kilos of cocaine washed ashore for the public to discover and that our customs officials with dedicated customs cutter boats were not aware of this consignment before it became detached. This particular incident has raised once more my deep concerns which I have raised with the Department of Finance and with Revenue on several occasions around the west coast of Ireland being used as a drug importation channel by drug cartels. Revenue and the Government are not on top of this worrying situation and I firmly believe that illegal and dangerous drugs are coming into Ireland illegally via the west coast. In a reply to the Taoiseach in October 2013, Liam Irwin said Revenue attaches the highest priority to combatting the smuggling of controlled drugs and that it is committed to playing an active role in working against this criminal activity and those responsible for it. While I accept that this sentiment is the true intent of Revenue in this regard and that lack of resources is the reason why Revenue may not be on top of the situation, I wish to highlight some major issues why we are not reaching the aims of this intent in the west……


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