Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 344 - An Garda Síochána [7947/23].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 344 - An Garda Síochána [7947/23]. (16 Feb 2023)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2023...

344. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the extent to which adequate resources continue to be made available to An Garda Síochána to sustain the battle against drug barons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7947/23]

Simon Harris Minister for Justice: I am acutely conscious of the devastating impact that illegal drugs and drug dealing have on communities across the country. I have discussed these concerns with the Garda Commissioner and his senior team since my appointment as Minister.

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is, by law, responsible for deployment of Garda resources. The Government remains committed to ensuring An Garda Síochána has the resources it needs to keep communities safe, evidenced by the unprecedented funding of €2.14 billion provided in Budget 2023.

Tackling drug dealing and associated criminal activity, including by organised crime groups and by members of the public who, through their drug taking fuel this illegal and very harmful trade, is a top priority for An Garda Síochána and the Government.

The Government are committed to taking a number of direct actions to tackle this, including by:

- Increasing the maximum sentence for conspiracy to murder from 10 years to life in prison to tackle those who direct gangland and drug related crime; and

- Introducing new legislation which will criminalise the grooming of children into a life of crime.

An Garda Síochána tackles organised criminal activity through a range of targeted measures designed to disrupt and dismantle the operations of criminal organisations. To the greatest extent possible, these measures include the use of advanced analytical and intelligence methodologies.

The additional resources allocated to AGS in recent years have enabled the Garda Commissioner to assign extra resources to the specialist units involved in tackling organised crime, including the Armed Support Unit, Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).

In December, I announced an additional capital allocation of €21.5 million to support significant investment in a replacement helicopter and fixed wing plane for An Garda Síochána. This investment will provide a vital support to the security of the State, offering consistent and effective capacity to Garda national units in the investigation of crime, including against Organised Crime Gangs (OCG) and drug traffickers.

An Garda Síochána also uses multi-disciplinary approaches to ensure the activities of individuals and groups involved in criminal enterprise are effectively targeted. Such approaches include the use of money-laundering legislation and the powers available to CAB under the proceeds of crime legislation.

The Deputy may also wish to know that the Garda Commissioner has tasked an Inspector in every Garda Division to respond to the issue of drug-related intimidation. There are currently thirty nominated Garda Inspectors appointed to act as liaison officers for the Drug-Related Intimidation Reporting Programme, covering each Garda Division.

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