Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 257 - Crime prevention [54366/22] [Seizures].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 257 - Crime prevention [54366/22] [Seizures]. (08 Nov 2022)

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

257. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of drug seizures which were seized on entry into Ireland in 2022; the location of such seizures; if he is concerned regarding the level of drugs entering the country; the efforts that are being taken to clamp down on drugs entering the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54366/22] 

Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance: Revenue has primary responsibility for the prevention, detection, interception and seizure of controlled drugs intended to be smuggled or illegally imported into, or exported from, the State. I am advised by Revenue that its drugs interdiction strategy supports the Government’s strategic approach to the misuse of drugs under the National Drugs Strategy 2017–2025. This Government is acutely aware of the sustained and significant damage that the importation of illicit drugs has on communities right across the country. Combatting not just the importation of illicit drugs but also firearms, ammunition and cash that are closely aligned with the activities of organised crime gangs and drugs importations is a priority. 

Details of drugs seized on entry into Ireland from 1 January to 30 September 2022, inclusive, are set out below in tabular form:

Drug Type

Weight (Kgs)

Value of Drugs Seized (€)

Cannabis (Herbal and Resin)









Amphetamines, Ecstasy and Other






The drug seizures outlined above were detected at key points of entry into the State, including ports, airports, postal and parcel courier hubs. I am advised by Revenue that it deploys enforcement personnel on a risk assessment basis at airports, ports and mail hubs/postal depots where goods enter the State.

I am aware that as part of its risk-based approach in this area of its activities, Revenue monitors and evaluates harbours and inlets along the coastline to identify the risk potential for drug smuggling. Revenue utilises the latest detection methods at the points of entry into the State, with the deployment of assets such as the Revenue scanners, drug detector dogs and 24/7 staff, where required, at frontier posts. Revenue’s Customs Drug Watch Programme supplements work in this area and is aimed at encouraging members of the public, along with coastal and local maritime communities to notify Revenue of suspect or unusual activity around the coast by way of a confidential 24/7 free phone facility 1800 295 295.

At a national level Revenue works closely with An Garda Síochána in addressing the challenges and risks associated with drugs smuggling, together with the Health Products Regulatory Authority in acting against the illegal drugs trade. Revenue’s work against drug crime is extensive and multi-faceted and is kept under continuous review to ensure that it makes the most effective contribution possible to deal with this societal problem.

Given the global nature of the illicit drugs trade, international law enforcement cooperation remains a key element in Revenue’s overall response. Revenue has strong and strategic partnerships in place at international level, targeting drugs trafficking, including working closely with relevant law enforcement agencies such as Europol and the Maritime Analysis Operations Centre for Narcotics (MAOC-N). Revenue liaison officers are stationed in both Europol and MAOC-N, ensuring Revenue is at the forefront in the area of drugs enforcement at an international level. These officers work closely with international colleagues in identifying the transnational risks associated with drug smuggling into the State.

Revenue actively engages with its European partners under Europol’s EMPACT programme. This programme has identified a range of significant threats to the EU including the trafficking of illicit drugs. Revenue participates with other Member States in planning and undertaking action to counteract the activities of those involved in international drug smuggling, specifically in the areas of cannabis, cocaine and heroin, as well as any emerging psychoactive substances.

There is also ongoing cooperation between Revenue, An Garda Síochána, the PSNI and HMRC in tackling serious crime, including drug trafficking and the supply of illicit drugs under the cross-border Joint Agency Task Force (JATF). The JATF was established under the 2015 Fresh Start Agreement to bring a concerted and enhanced effort to tackle cross-jurisdictional organised crime. The Task Force is led by senior officers from An Garda Síochána, Revenue, the PSNI and HMRC, with involvement from the Criminal Assets Bureau and the National Crime Agency, as needed, in operational activity.

Finally, I think it is important to recognise that the challenge of combatting drugs importations must be seen and understood in an international context having regard in particular to scale and scope of the international movement of people, vehicles and freight and the transnational nature of organised crime. I acknowledge the critical work of Revenue and An Garda Síochána, in particular, in tackling the challenge of illegal drugs importations. The risk-based approach being adopted, including developing and utilising intelligence in conjunction with national and international law enforcement partners, ensures optimal deployment of resources by the agencies involved. I am satisfied that Revenue is clear and focused in its resolve to tackle the challenge of illegal drugs smuggling.


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