Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 94 - An Garda Síochána [15890/22].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 94 - An Garda Síochána [15890/22]. (29 Mar 2022)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2022...

  1. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Justice the number of arrests and seizures related to Operation Copóg in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15890/22]

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee: The Government is acutely aware of the sustained and significant damage that drug dealing has on communities across the country. Organised criminal activity, including drug dealing, represents a serious threat to community safety. 

The continued disruption of the supply of all illicit drugs remains a priority for An Garda Síochána and the other State agencies tasked with responsibilities in this regard. A concerted effort has been made over the past two years to ensure that the detection and prevention of these types of criminal activity have not been adversely affected by the unprecedented demands placed on policing services by the vital enforcement of public health restrictions. 

As the Deputy will be aware, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána, including Garda operations aimed at preventing and countering criminal activity, and the enforcement of legislation pertaining to illegal drugs. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters. 

I am advised by the Garda authorities that Operation Copóg commenced in March 2021 as a joint operation between An Garda Síochána and Limerick City & County Council to disrupt and target the sale and supply of controlled drugs in the St Mary’s Park area of Limerick city. 

Additional resources were allocated to the Community Policing Unit in Mayorstone and dedicated solely to the St Mary’s Park area to provide a high visibility policing presence and reassurance to the community. These Community Policing members work closely with the Divisional Drugs Unit at Henry Street Garda Station, to target individuals who are involved in the sale and supply of controlled drugs, with a particular focus on the sale of crack cocaine. Operation Copóg is supported by the Regional Dog Unit, District Crime units, Armed Support Unit and Regular Units. 

I am informed by the Garda authorities that An Garda Síochána seized in excess of €2.8 million of controlled drugs in the period January – November 2021, the latest period for which information is available, and cash to the value of €331,740. In the same period in 2021, Gardaí in Limerick executed warrants pursuant to Section 26 Misuse of Drugs Acts and seized drugs including Cocaine, Cannabis Herb, Cannabis Plants, Cannabis Resin, Heroin and Tablets. 

An Garda Síochána have provided the following information with reference to Operation Copóg during the period of March 2021 - March 2022:



Searches of persons pursuant to Section 23 Misuse of Drugs Act


Premises searched under warrant pursuant to Section 26 Misuse of Drugs Act


Cases where persons have been found in possession of controlled drugs (purpose of sale/ supply and personal use)


Vehicles seized under Section 41 Road Traffic Act


The following incidents also relate to Operation Copóg: 

- One incident of Violent Disorder was detected where three persons were arrested. Two of these people were subsequently charged on the direction of the Director of Public Prosecutions. 

- Five persons were arrested in relation to recent significant drug seizures and questioned regarding their involvement in the sale/supply of controlled drugs in St. Mary’s Park. 

- Three cases of money laundering were detected where a quantity of cash was seized believed to be the proceeds of drug dealing. 

I would add that Operation Copóg is only one element of wider strategies to deal with organised criminal activity and drug supply in the Limerick Region. These strategies under Operation Tara and Operation Coronation, amongst others, aim to prevent the wholesale distribution of drugs and activities in the region by organised crime gangs. 

Garda Management in Limerick are focused on targeting drug dealing and anti-social behaviour in all parts of Limerick. The significant successes to date across all the strategies that are in place are having a significant impact on the activities of organised crime gangs and An Garda Síochána is determined to continue to target this criminal activity and reduce the negative impact that illegal drugs have on so many lives and in our community.

[See other debate on crime prevention, 575. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice the initiatives that are being pursued to ensure public order and safety on streets. [58128/22], 22 November 2022] 

Repository Staff Only: item control page