Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 211 - Gangland crime [25505/23].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 211 - Gangland crime [25505/23]. (25 May 2023)

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

Minister for Justice Simon Harris: I can assure the Deputy that tackling organised crime activity is the overriding priority for An Garda Síochána and the Government.


The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and administration of Garda business by law, and that I, as Minister, have no role in operational policing matters.


We should not underestimate the difficulties which the Garda authorities face in tackling organised crime activity. We continue to see the significant results of their efforts in arrests made, people being brought before the Courts, both here and in other jurisdictions, and drugs and firearms seizures.


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 An Garda Síochána 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).


An Garda Síochána 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.


Other measures taken to tackle organised crime include the strengthening of legislation where required, the establishment of a second Special Criminal Court in 2016, and the establishment of Garda Armed Response Units in all Garda regions which are available to support all divisions countrywide.


The Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) is having significant success in disrupting drug trafficking and the supply of illicit drugs by organised crime groups.


Recent successes include:


- €280,000 of heroin seized in Clondalkin, Dublin under Operation Tara;

- €3.85m worth of cocaine seized in Ringaskiddy Port, Cork during a joint operation between Revenue Customs and GNDOCB;

- Over €1m in cannabis herb seized in Dublin, again during a joint operation between Revenue Customs and GNDOCB;


- searches of 18 properties and 2 areas of waste ground in Limerick City and County targeting the activities of a criminal organisation. During these searches Gardaí recovered/seized a BMW, an item of designer jewellery, a number of electronic items and six shotgun cartridges. Drugs were also seized including approximately €64,600 of suspected amphetamine and approximately €89,600 of suspected cannabis. Approximately €76,580 in cash was recovered with a further €18,000 frozen in credit union accounts.


I am progressing the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which will increase the maximum sentence for conspiracy to murder from ten years to life in prison. These new laws will ensure that An Garda Síochána and our Courts have the tools they need to take firm and decisive action to deal with our most serious criminals.


Justice Plan 2023 commits to working to break the links between gangs and the children they seek to recruit. This includes draft legislation to outlaw the grooming of children into a life of crime. In parallel, we will continue to operate a community intervention programme, “Greentown”, which seeks to protect children who are engaged or at risk of engaging with a criminal gang.

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