Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Questions 87 - Gangland crime [33997/23].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Questions 87 - Gangland crime [33997/23]. (11 Jul 2023)

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

87. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice when additional measures will be introduced to deal with the scourge and damage being inflicted on families and communities throughout this country by persons involved in major drug trafficking and gangland criminality; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33997/23]

Helen McEntee, Minister for Justice: I can assure the Deputy that tackling drug dealing and associated criminal activity, including by organised crime groups is a top priority for An Garda Síochána and the Government.

My Department is working on a wide range of measures to tackle organised crime, including:

  • the Criminal Justice (Engagement of Children in Criminal Activity) Bill 2023, which will make it an offence for an adult to groom a child or young person into criminality;
  • the Garda Síochána (Recording Devices) Bill 2023, which will provide for the use of body worn cameras by Gardaí and update the law surrounding the use of CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition in the investigation and prosecution of crime;
  • increasing the maximum sentence for conspiracy to commit murder to life through the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill;
  • continuing the internationally recognised 'Greentown' programme, which seeks to break the links between gangs and children they try to recruit into a life of criminality.

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 allocation of over €2 billion in Budget 2023. The Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) continues to have significant success in disrupting drug trafficking and the supply of illicit drugs by organised crime groups. The Bureau's work is supported by Divisional Drugs Units nationwide, and by all Gardaí working in local communities. The Bureau also works in cooperation with international law enforcement partners. 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.

An Garda Síochána continues to target those involved in street-level dealing across the country and also focuses on disrupting and dismantling the drug trafficking networks that impact on our communities and prosecuting those involved at every level through Operation Tara. Some recent successes of Operation Tara include the seizure last week of cigarettes with an estimated value of €10 Million with a loss to the Exchequer of €7.5 million. Last month, also through Operation Tara, Gardaí arrested a man following the seizure of over €1.5 million in cocaine and cash in Dublin and Meath.

I am sure the Deputy will agree, it is important that communities work together with An Garda Síochána in relation to such behaviour. Reporting by the public of illegal activity, including drug dealing or intimidation, is important to assist in this work and there are a range of channels to do so, including through the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111. I encourage anyone with information in that regard to contact An Garda Síochána in this way.

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 30 nominated Garda Inspectors appointed to act as liaison officers for the Drug-Related Intimidation Reporting Programme, covering each Garda Division.

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