Home > Dáil Éireann Debate. Written answer 1262, 1263 – Drug dealing [19789/22] [19792/22].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann Debate. Written answer 1262, 1263 – Drug dealing [19789/22] [19792/22]. (26 Apr 2022)

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

1262. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the degree to which illegal drugs continue to be supplied on the streets of Dublin and cities and towns throughout Ireland in the context of progress made in terms of a reduction in supply and usage in the past five years; the extent to which statistical evidence is available to support the present policy in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19789/22]

1263. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the extent to which drug-related crime has been recorded over the past five years; the extent to which an increase or decrease has been noted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19792/22]


Minister for Justice: Helen McEntee

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1262 and 1263 together.


Tackling organised criminal activity is a key priority for the Government and an ongoing priority for An Garda Síochána. The Government has supported An Garda Síochána in addressing the threat from organised crime gangs through the introduction of a range of legislative measures.


This includes the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which is currently being drafted and will provide, among other matters, for an increase in the penalty for conspiring to commit murder and soliciting to commit murder from a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.


I consider a maximum sentence of life imprisonment to be appropriate given the seriousness of the offences in question. The Deputy will appreciate that, ultimately, the Judiciary is best placed to decide on the appropriate sentence in any given case. The impact of all violent crime spreads far wider than the victims alone and it is vital that the powers available to the Judiciary are such as to provide an appropriate deterrent for conspiring to commit the most heinous crime of taking a person's life.


Work is continuing on the drafting of this Bill based on the General Scheme and further legal advices. I hope to be in a position to publish these provisions in the second quarter of this year.


As the Deputy will be aware, the Government has in place the National Drugs and Alcohol Strategy, "Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery - a health led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025". The Strategy recognises the need for a balanced health-led approach - reducing demand, while also reducing access to illegal drugs, and is aimed at reducing the number of people criminalised for the possession of drugs for personal use. While this strategy supports the vulnerable people who use drugs, it is also matched with strengthened enforcement measures across government to tackle the supply of illegal drugs.


An Garda Síochána continues to develop and implement strategies to dismantle and disrupt criminal networks, using advanced analytical and intelligence methods. Gardaí target dangerous criminals and organised criminal groups through the use of focused intelligence-led operations by specialist units and agencies such as the Organised Crime Unit, the Criminal Assets Bureau and the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.


The Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) is having significant success in disrupting the supply of illicit drugs by organised crime groups. Its work is supported by Divisional Drugs Units nationwide and by all Gardaí working in local communities, while working closely with international law enforcement partners.  


I am advised by the Garda authorities that in 2021, the GNDOCB seized €63.689m in illicit drugs, and seized cash of €5.6m and £38,751 (UK). In addition, €8.23m and £142,520 (UK) was forfeited to the State in 2021.


I can further inform the Deputy that on 2 July 2021, An Garda Síochána commenced an enhanced national anti-drugs strategy, Operation Tara, which has a strong focus on tackling street-level dealing throughout rural and urban Ireland. The focus of Operation Tara is to disrupt, dismantle and prosecute drug trafficking networks, at all levels - international, national and local - involved in the importation, distribution, cultivation, production, local sale and supply of controlled drugs.


Recent successes of Operation Tara include:


- €1.75 million seizure of cocaine in Clondalkin on Friday, 15 April 2022.


- Approximately €160,000 of suspected cocaine during the course of a search in County Wexford on the evening of 8 April 2022.


- €580,000 in suspected cannabis herb and a man arrested following a search operation in the Castleblayney area of Co. Monaghan on 8 April 2022.


- €140,000 worth of diamorphine and  a man arrested following a search operation in Clondalkin on 30 March 2022.


- €700,000 of suspected heroin and one man arrested following a search operation in Co. Clare on 25 March 2022.


As the Deputy will be aware the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, is responsible for the compilation and publication of all crime statistics.  The CSO produces these statistics using data recorded on An Garda Síochána’s PULSE system and makes regular releases under reservation in relation to various crime statistics.  The CSO also continues to work with An Garda Síochána to address quality issues in the underlying sources used to compile the statistics. 


Figures are published quarterly by the CSO at the following link: www.cso.ie/en/statistics/crimeandjustice/.


Question No. 1263 answered with Question No. 1262.

Question No. 1264 answered with Question No. 1253.

Repository Staff Only: item control page