Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Question 1243 - Drug dealing [39435/23].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Question 1243 - Drug dealing [39435/23]. (11 Sep 2023)

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

1243: Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice if additional measures will be introduced to deal with the scourge of drugs throughout the country, impacting on every community; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39435/23]


Helen McEntee, Minister for Justice: At the outset I would like to 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 this Government.


An Garda Síochána continues to work closely with international partners to combat transnational crime and has already had significant success in this regard.


Given the global nature of the drugs trade, international law enforcement co-operation remains a key element in the overall response. An Garda Síochána has strong and strategic partnerships in place at international level targeting drug trafficking, including working closely with relevant law enforcement agencies such as INTERPOL and Europol and participating in the Maritime Analysis Operations Centre for Narcotics (MAOC-N) based in Lisbon.


An Garda Síochána continues to target those involved in the sale and supply of illegal drugs through Operation Tara, which has a strong focus on tackling street-level dealing across the country. Operation Tara also focuses on disrupting and dismantling the drug trafficking networks that impact on our communities and prosecuting those involved at every level.


Some recent successes of Operation Tara include the seizure of over €1.5 million in cocaine and cash in Dublin and Meath in June as part of an intelligence-led investigation targeting organised criminal activity. More recently, a search last week by Gardaí from the Meath Divisional Drugs Unit resulted in the seizure of eleven bags of cannabis herb with an estimated value of €120,000. Gardaí in Clare also seized €107,500 worth of drugs, mainly suspected cocaine, during a search last week as part of Operation Tara. 


The record budgetary 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, GNDOCB, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).


The Garda Commissioner has also 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.


The Deputy may also be aware that the Department of Health leads on Government policy in the area of drugs, and this policy is guided by the national drugs and alcohol strategy "Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery - a health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025". This strategy represents a whole-of-Government response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland.


The implementation of the strategy is led by the Minister for Health and the Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy. However, the strategy includes actions for all stakeholders, including my Department and An Garda Síochána. 


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 vulnerable people who use drugs, it is also matched with strengthened enforcement measures across Government to tackle the supply of illegal drugs.

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